Double Tour de France champion Alberto Contador expressed delight as a mountainous 2015 route was revealed on Wednesday, as the Spaniard confirmed his plans for an ambitious Giro-Tour double.
Sky’s 2013 Champion Chris Froome suggested however that he may skip the 2015 Tour as it didn’t suit his style, saying he may concentrate on the Italian challenge.
Contador agreed that it was the toughest Tour de France route in recent years but said he aimed to dig deep and try to win both.
“I like the Tour route. It’s tougher than recent editions so I’ll need to be careful to get back in physical shape (after the Giro) in good time,” said Contador, as seven mountain stages were revealed to be on the 2015 itinerary.
The final summit finish is the legendary climb to the Alpe d’Huez on the penultimate stage 20, the day before the peloton arrive on the Champs Elysée.
“It looks like one of those Tours where you not only have to hold something in reserve for the finale, but also one where you have to hit the ground running. It’s really quite demanding,” Contador, the 2007 and 2009 champion explained.
Contador described the opening day 14km individual time-trial as short, which it is compared to the often 50km or more time-trials that can often decide the champion.
“It is crucial to get out of the first week (which includes a team time-trial) without having lost time, but we’re dealing with a particularly mountainous Tour with more summit finishes than usual,” explained the climbing specialist.
“The Alpine stages also offer up some interesting tactical schema, but only if you get to the final week feeling strong,” he warned.
Contador fractured a shin in a high-speed fall on stage 10 in 2014, but went on to beat Froome to the Tour of Spain in September.
Meanwhile up-and-coming Colombian climber Nairo Quintana, who is a nervy time-trialist and who ended his 2014 Tour of Spain hopes with a nasty fall on one, also seemed delighted.
“There’s very little time-trial and lots of mountains. That suits me just fine. The only thing I have to worry is the cobbles,” said the Movistar rider, in reference to the 13km of cobbled roads on stage 4.
His team leader Alejandro Valverde (4th on the 2014 Tour de France) said he was shocked both by how little time-trial had been scheduled.
“I’ve always said that I should always race the Tour de France, and with this one suiting Nairo so perfectly, even more so. We can be a dangerous double act, just like we were before he fell at La Vuelta,” said Valverde, who went on to take third place overall on the 2014 Tour of Spain.