Contador promises a different Tour de France script
Alberto Contador has promised a more exciting Tour de France this year after Bradley Wiggins's Team Sky dominated all the way to the Champs-Elysees in the 2012 edition.
Double champion Contador of Spain, back in the race after a one-year hiatus because of a doping suspension, is unlikely to settle for second against Team Sky leader Chris Froome, the overwhelming favourite.
"We are not the only two actors in this film," Contador, who won the Tour in 2007 and 2009, told a packed news conference at his team hotel on Thursday. "There will be more action than last year."
Last year, Wiggins's rivals seemed to quickly abandon hope of winning the Tour as the Briton dominated the time trials and relied on Team Sky's conservative tactics in the mountains.
Wiggins is out of the race, which starts on Saturday, for health reasons but Team Sky directors are likely to use the same methods to help Froome to reach Paris with the yellow jersey.
Image: Alberto Contador
Photographs: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
'I think Sky are more advanced in training'
Australian Michael Rogers, who was Team Sky's road captain last year but has switched to Contador's Team Saxo-Tinkoff this season, knows a thing or two about the British outfit's way of operating.
"I think Sky are more advanced in training, in sports science - they know exactly what's required from domestiques to do the job properly in the last week, they know so much more about the internals of the sport, in my opinion, than any other team," he told reporters.
"I think Alberto uses his emotions in the races, whereas I think Chris is very calculated and Brad was very calculated last year. (At Team Sky) you know what you're capable of and you don't go outside of that."
Image: Team Sky
Photographs: Eric Gaillard/Reuters
Contador, instead, is a hot-blooded racer who is able to turn around desperate situations.
In last year's Vuelta, he launched a devastating surprise attack in the 17th stage to snatch the overall lead from fellow Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez.
In the 2011 Tour, although he did not win the race, Contador attacked 92 kilometres from the finish at l'Alpe d'Huez as he tried to make up for lost time against Australian Cadel Evans.
He is ready to use the same approach this time if needed.
"We will think about tactics after the second time trial. It will depend on the overall standings," Contador said.
"Depending on my position, we will be more aggressive or more conservative. However, there will be more movement than the previous year.
"This year's race gives opportunities to attack far from the finish."
Image: Alberto Contador
Photographs: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
'Michael has a lot of experience'
The odds are that Contador, one of five men with titles in all three grand Tours, will be behind Froome after the 11th stage, an individual time trial to Mont St Michel.
Froome has beaten Contador in all their confrontations in stage races this season, but the Spaniard is not concerned.
"At the (Criterium du) Dauphine (this month), I was at 75 percent," he said. "Now I'm around 90 percent, which was my goal a few days before the start of the Tour."
Contador will have a much better team than in 2011, with Rogers, Czech Roman Kreuziger and Irishman Nicolas Roche.
"Michael has a lot of experience, he will be our road captain," he explained. "He knows how Sky work so it will be helpful.
"Having a stronger team gives me tranquillity because I know I have the riders to put me in a good position in the mountains."
The Tour starts from Porto Vecchio in Corsica, an island that could give Contador a few attacking opportunities.
"Anything is possible," he warned.
Image: Michael Rogers
Photographs: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images