Alberto Contador expects more open Tour de France in 2017
By Matt Westby in Abu Dhabi
Last Updated: 19/10/16 8:36pm
Alberto Contador believes the reduced amount of time trialling in next year’s Tour de France will make for a more open race.
The 2017 edition contains two individual time trials totalling 36km, which is 18.5km less than this year's 54.5km.
Chris Froome won July's race comfortably after making gains of more than three minutes on all of his closest rivals in the time trials, but Contador thinks next summer's route will make life much harder for the defending champion.
2017 Tour route unveiled
The 2017 Tour de France will contain steeper climbs and less time trialling
Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Tour, where he is racing from Thursday to Sunday this week, he said: "I haven't looked at the profiles, but it's not bad that they haven't got a flat time trial of 50 or 55km.
"I like that it is more short and I think also this will make the race more open until the final. We will try to take all the opportunities that we have in the race."
Contador suffered a torrid 2016 Tour, crashing twice in the opening two days and then quitting the race on stage nine as a result of his injuries and illness.
He also had problems within his Tinkoff team, with certain team-mates not willing to work for him and both Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka freed to pursue their own goals.
Contador will join Trek-Segafredo next season and is confident that a more unified approach will help him mount a stronger challenge for the yellow jersey.
He added: "I think there will be a more clear objective in the different races. It's hard to have a very good team around you in all the races.
"In the end you need a programme where the team is at 100 per cent in the Tour and I think that next year, we will focus everything on the overall, and this is crucial."