Six-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador has announced that he is set to retire after the 2016 season.
Contador is planning to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France back to back this season. Attempting to become the first man to achieve the feat since the late Marco Pantani did the double in 1998.
The Spanish riders words can’t be taken for granted as he said he wouldn’t take part in the Vuelta a Espana after crashing out of last year’s Tour de France. He made a miraculous recover from a broken leg to beat Team Sky’s Chris Froome to a third Grand Tour title on home soil.
The Tinkoff-Saxo rider told reporters: “I would like to retire being at the top. This year, I will definitely be competing and also next year. I cannot confirm it but that could be my last. Yes, beyond 2016, I don’t see myself [competing].”
However, the 2014 Vuelta a Espana winner suggested that his announcement isn’t set in stone after adding: “I’m not ruling anything out, but at the moment if there are no unforeseen developments like injuries that affect my racing, that is the plan.”
Despite a chequered past, in which he was suspended for two years as well as being stripped of two Grand Tour titles, it is difficult to see Contador walking away from the sport if he is still on top.
If he continues the success that he has had over his career over the next two seasons and secures his legacy by joining an illustrious group as a Giro-Tour winner it appears even more unlikely.
“I reiterate that I will only compete to win. I’m never satisfied. Victory is the only thing I think of,” – Alberto Contador
As with all professional sports, some athletes can’t stay away once retiring, this was shown with shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong whose return to the sport ultimately contributed to his downfall.