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Champion-littered Spanish cycling team 'not the favourites' for world title

Spanish coach Jose Luis de Santos believes his team, containing Alberto Contador, will play third fiddle behind Belgium and Italy.

Alberto Contador is included in the nine-man Spanish team.
Alberto Contador is included in the nine-man Spanish team.
Image: AP Photo/Alberto Di Lolli

THREE-TIME WORLD CHAMPION Oscar Freire and newly-crowned Tour of Spain champion Alberto Contador will lead the Spanish team at the world championships in the Netherlands.

The seven other riders named in the preliminary Spanish squad are Dani Moreno, Joaquim Rodriguez, Jonathan Castroviejo, Pablo Lastras, Alejandro Valverde, Juan Antonio Flecha and Samuel Sanchez.

The list is not definitive, with a decision to be taken on Sanchez’s participation to be made after the ongoing Tour of Britain, Egoi Martinez waiting in the wings as a replacement.

“We are not the favourites,” said Spanish federation coach Jose Luis de Santos.  He added:

As far as I’m concerned, there are two teams which are stronger than us: Belgium and Italy.

“But that’s not to say we don’t have ambitions.”

Contador, who on Sunday won his second Tour of Spain just one month after returning from a two-year doping ban, will race the time-trial along with Castroviejo.

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The world championships take place from Saturday, 15 September and runs for eight days.

The Irish team, which is likely to contain Nicolas Roche and Daniel Martin, has yet to be confirmed.

- © AFP, 2012

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