Alberto Contador to retire after Vuelta a Espana

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Alberto Contador.

Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador announced on Monday that he will bring an illustrious career to an end next month after racing in the Vuelta a Espana on home soil.

“I would like to inform you about two things. One is that I will participate in the next Vuelta a Espana from August 19 and the second is that it will be my last race as a professional cyclist,” Contador, 34, said in a video posted on his Instagram account.

Contador is one of the most decorated cyclists of all-time with seven Grand Tour victories in total to his name and is one of only six riders to win all three of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

“It’s a decision that I have thought through and I don’t think there is a better farewell than in the home race and in my country,” Contador added.

“I’m sure they will be three wonderful weeks, enjoying all your affection, and I can’t wait to get started.”

However, Contador’s career was also overshadowed by a positive test for the banned substance Clenbuterol which saw him banned for two years in 2012 and stripped of victory in the 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia.

He claimed his failed test had come about from eating contaminated meat.

Having initially announced his intention to retire at the end of 2016, his impressive form last season encouraged Contador to continue for 2017 as he switched teams to Trek-Segafredo.

However, he endured a disappointing Tour de France in July as he finished in ninth place and nearly nine minutes off Chris Froome.

Froome will also be the man to beat in the Vuelta if Contador is to have a glorious goodbye from the sport as the Britain headlines a strong field also featuring Fabio Aru, Vincenzo Nibali and Romain Bardet.

Gracias a [email protected]! Thanks to all!

A post shared by Alberto Contador (@acontadoroficial) on

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Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff set to join UAE Team Emirates

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Alexander Kristoff.

UAE Team Emirates have announced that Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff will join the team from Katusha-Alpecin for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

The 30-year-old has signed a pre-contract, with the team saying “the definitive contract will be signed in the next few weeks, after some routine tests by the team’s medical staff.”

Assuming the transfer goes through, the 30-year-old’s arrival would mean further competition for fellow sprinters Ben Swift and Andrea Guardini.

The latest transfer could mean Elia Viviani will stay at Team Sky, with speculation that the Italian was to sign for the UAE team this month.

However, with the acquisition of Kristoff, Olympic champion Viviani could be surplus to requirements.

Kristoff won Milan-Sean Remo in 2014 and the Tour of Flanders in 2015.

He has over 60 victories during his 11 year professional career.

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UAE Team Emirates rider Ben Swift set for Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic Debut

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Fresh from competing in last week’s Tour de France, UAE Team Emirates’ resident Brit, Ben Swift, will lead the charge as the team compete in the newly appointed UCI World Tour race, Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

Amongst the UAE Team Emirates line-up are Italian riders Simone Consonni, Federico Zurlo, Filippo Ganna, Oliviero Troia, Slovenian Marko Kump and Norweigian Vegard Stake Laengen, whom like Swift, also competed at La Grande Boucle.

Fondly remembering his previous participation in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, where he had two podium finishes in 2015 & 2014, Swift said: “I like this race as I have great memories of my past participation, having been on the podium twice in a row. However, this year the situation is different, now the race is part of the WorldTour calendar it has attracted UCI WorldTour teams raising the standard of the competition. I hope to make the most of my good form after the Tour. I am delighted I get to race in London as this will probably be my only chance to race in England with the team this season.”

This year will mark the fifth edition of the race and is Great Britain’s first UCI WorldTour race. The race itself, a 200km route based on the 2012 London Olympic Games road race, has been dubbed “richest one-day race” with a prize fund of €100,000 (Euros) – the biggest fund of any one-day Classic on the UCI World Tour.

Confirming the line-up, UAE Team Emirates’ Sporting Director Marzano said: “We have a group of fast riders we can depend on. Swift knows the race very well from previous participations which is an advantage. However, we will be counting on the rest of the team for their support. Some of the other riders, Troia, Ganna and Zurlo will be looking for the opportunity to join any breakaways.”

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