Armstrong and Contador set for showdown at Criterium International

Alberto Contador has had a dream start to his 2010 season. He started off by winning Portugal’s Vuelta ao Algarve and then the Paris -Nice just 3 days ago. Its for this reason that he has dicided to shake up his racing calender by taking a small break now then taking on two of the calendar’s biggest classics.

Contador said that it makes sense to ease up in this early part of the season.

“I’ve had very good results in my first two races this year,” said Contador. “My preparation is well underway – ahead of schedule, in fact – so we decided to change our plans, to put less wear on me and my team.”

Contador said that last week’s Paris-Nice was taxing on both physical and mental levels. As a result, he has opted not to compete in the upcoming Volta a Catalunya (March 22-28) or the Vuelta al País Vasco (April 5-10).

Contador will, instead, race in the Criterium International (March 27 and 28), the Vuelta a Castilla y León (April 14-18) and then take a stab at two major spring classics, Fleche Wallonne (April 21) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 25).

“Criterium International is a race that suits my characteristics very well and I really want to ride it, just because it carries so much prestige,” said Contador.

The decision will also mean that Contador will have much earlier chance to test his form against his former teammate and rival Lance Armstrong who has also shown his intention to compete at Criterium International. Contador said that a recent shift in dates for the Vuelta a Castilla y León means that he can also compete in two of the year’s biggest spring classics.

“The Vuelta a Castilla y León is a race I’ve always loved and this year – because of a change in dates – I also get the opportunity to go to the classics. I’m excited to ride there because there is so much history. I’m not sure how I will do, there will be riders with a lot more skill and classics experience than I have.”

Following Liège, Contador will take another break before racing in the Dauphiné Libéré and then focusing on his season’s primary goal, a third win in the Tour de France.

The battle between these two riders at this years Tour is going to be immense, and lets not forget all the other potential winners.