Tour de France 2015: Alberto Contador's Giro d'Italia efforts have raised 'more doubts' about his condition as start looms

Tinkoff-Saxo rider uncertain what physical toll 'doing the double' may take

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The Independent Online

In the final countdown to the Tour de France, cycling’s top stage racer, Alberto Contador, has said he has “more doubts” about his condition than when he started last year’s race.

Contador began the Tour last July in excellent shape but crashed out in the first week. This time the Tinkoff-Saxo pro has just won the Giro d’Italia and is uncertain – given he has never targeted cycling’s two toughest Grand Tours in a single year – what physical toll “doing the double” may take.

“If I had to decide between the feelings I had before last year’s Tour and this year, I’d choose last year’s feelings,” Contador said.

He said he had never felt so strong than before last year’s Tour. “I had prepared very well and I was not so worried about fatigue and recovery,” he said. “I have more doubts this time.”

Despite having won seven Grand Tours, the 32-year-old said that this year’s Tour de France represents a voyage in the dark. “What most worries me because it is totally new is how my body will recover from those efforts,” he said. “The Tour route, in terms of its mountains, is the hardest of all the Tours I’ve done and in the first nine days, there are six stages which are going to be really tough.”

Aiming to be the first rider to take both Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same year since Marco Pantani in 1998, Contador said he was not under less pressure because he has succeeded in taking the first half of cycling’s double. “Having won the Giro does make me feel a bit less stressed,” he said. “But as I see it, the Giro-Tour double is one victory, not two.”