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Spanish riders Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador are expected to go head to head against each other at the end of this week at the Tour of Basque Country in what is one of the most challenging stage races of the cycling calendar.
Both the riders are in top form going into the race with Contador taking the win at the Tirreno-Adriatico as well as taking second place at the Volta a Catalunya with Valverde taking the win at the GP Miguel Indurain this past week.
Both the racers however, have played down their chances of winning the mountainous range this week and Valverde went a step further when he mentioned that he is already eyeing the Ardennes classics.
He stated that he feels good and he has this spark adding that the six days of racing at the Tour of Basque Country will give him the finishing touch he needs to get ready for the hard toil that the classics involve. He also pointed out that the Ardennes Classics are his objective and he will take this race by his luck.
Alberto Contador is also on a great run of form but he will pull the plug on his season for sometime after the Tour of Basque Country and will not be racing at any of the Ardennes Classics.
He stated that he wants a good race but he also admitted that he knows that there are top rivals in front of him as well. He added that he feels motivated and he wants to do well in a race that always brings back good memories for him.
He added that the final time trial will be important in deciding the winner but Alberto Contador also insisted that he will not give up without a fight in the race.
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Riis Cycling, fondly known as Alberto Contador’s team, has come under a new ownership lately – Russian business tycoon Oleg Tinkov is the man who has signed up a deal as the new buyer of the famous team.
Riis Cycling has been re-christened as “Tinkoff-Saxo” & would stay entitled so for the coming three years.
The new ownership for Riis was confirmed a couple of days back at a London based press conference. The esteemed Danish team has got the “Saxo” name from its secondary sponsor, the Russian Saxo Bank, which has shared the sponsorship obligations with the Russian business magnet. Interestingly, the team was branded as “Saxo-Tinkoff” earlier in 2003 yet the new purchase brought a change in the name order. Tinkoff Bank withdrew from the team this October given a bitter season straddling with the famous Spaniard rider, leaving Saxo as the principal sponsor for a while.
Tinkoff-Saxo aims to be the world leader with the 2 times Tour France champion Alberto Contador as the spearhead for the 2014 season.
Stefano Feltrin has been selected as the new CEO of Contador’s newly re-branded team while Bjarne Riis is supposed to stay on the team’s GM.
While approached to speak a few words on the new ownership secured by the team, the general manager confirmed content and great satisfaction with the latest deal. According to his statements, this new deal has assured “long-term stability for the team” that “presently has the foundation and funding to go as one of the major players on the esteemed world circuit letting a further raise in our ambitions.”
“With this deal, I firmly believe that Tinkoff Sport has been able to secure best probable foundation & setting that could duly assist to materialize our aim to come up as grandest cycling team across the world- over the upcoming 3 years”, stressed Mr. Oleg Tinkov.