El Pistolero leads a very strong Tinkoff-Saxo as he bids to improve on third place in last year’s race. Contador has already shown some early-season form with a stage win atop the Alto do Malhao at the Volta ao Algarve – his only race so far this season – and will be keen to build on his second place overall. Set to lead the team at the Tour de France, Contador faced some very public criticism from new team owner Oleg Tinkov during last year’s Tour and will want to prove a point early on this season.
Among his supporting cast are Nicolas Roche, who could himself be targeting GC success at the Giro d’Italia, and Roman Kreuziger. Both are capable of results in their own right and ensure Tinkoff-Saxo approach the race with one of the strongest climbing line-ups on show. For Contador, the ramps of the Lanciano and Guardiagrele are another matter entirely when compared to the Algarve. With the Tour de France still four months away, he will not yet be approaching peak form, though Tinkoff-Saxo have named him as team leader. The condition of his legs will play a huge bearing on his overall chances.