Giro d'Italia - Contador eyes famous double
Alberto Contador will be making a highly unusual bid to win two Grand Tours in one season beginning with the Giro d'Italia.
Speaking at a news conference the day before the Giro starts in Turin, the Saxo Bank rider said: "It will be very difficult to win both the Giro and the Tour de France but I want to try it.
"Maybe the Giro isn't the best preparation for the Tour because the Giro has such a difficult route this year but to try to do both gives me an extra level of motivation and (to win them) will be something very important."
Contador is able to compete in the Giro after being cleared by the Spanish cycling federation over his positive test for clenbuterol in last year's Tour.
He is awaiting the outcome of an appeal against that decision by the International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Winning the Giro-Tour double in the same year is viewed as exceptionally tough. Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong never even attempted it in his prime, and the last rider to succeed was the late Marco Pantani of Italy in 1998.
In 2010, Italian Ivan Basso crushed the opposition in the Giro, cycling's second biggest stage race, but his Tour de France bid collapsed completely and he finished 32nd, almost an hour behind.
"If anybody can do the double, it's Alberto," said Contador's team manager at Saxo Bank, Bjarne Riis.
"His programme has been built towards this, and he's ready to try. Of course it's a risk to go for both, but it's beautiful to try to do it."
Unbeaten in major Tours since 2007, Contador has won three Tours de France titles, a Giro d'Italia pink jersey and a Tour of Spain.
He has triumphed in the Giro and Vuelta in the same year, in 2008, but has never attempted a Giro-Tour double.
Asked if he wanted to win the Giro in a spectacular way like Barcelona or to take the victory with a more conservative approach like Barcelona's key rivals Real Madrid, Contador said: "The aim is to do both.
"I want the win in Milan, that's the biggest objective. But I think this year's Giro is so hard, that it will be impossible for it not to be a spectacular way."
The Giro finishes in Milan on May 29 after snaking round the country with the ninth stage up Mount Etna in Sicily particularly daunting.
"I'm here at the Giro, in any case, because it's a race I like. I have great memories of when I won it in 2008," the Spaniard said.
"I think though, it will be the hardest stage race I've ever done."
A CAS decision on Contador is expected before the Tour de France starts on July 2.
Asked if he could explain why riders such as Alessandro Ballan who were under investigation for doping were barred by their teams from riding in the Giro while he was taking part, Contador said: "The two situations are completely different.
"I don't know their precise situation but I have been declared innocent. You can't make a comparison. The two cases have nothing to do with one another."