Recovery time for Alberto Contador's leg fracture is uncertain, and he may not be back in the saddle for the Vuelta a Espana

Alberto Contador wants to return to racing after crashing out of the Tour de France on Monday, but the Vuelta a España on August 23 may come too soon.

“We have to be patient,” Tinkoff-Saxo team manger, Bjarne Riis told Cycling Weekly.

“We don’t know about the Vuelta a España yet, we hope so, but it’s not sure. It’s going to be difficult, but it depends on how fast he heals. It depends on how soon he starts training on his bike.”

On Tuesday, Contador had his fractured right tibia checked at a clinic near home in Madrid. Doctors recommended against surgery

“The doctor told me that surgery would increase the trauma the knee has suffered and will delay recovery even more,” Contador said. “The good news is that I have no tendon or ligament injured and the fissure is in the best possible place.”

“The fracture is a good fracture,” Riis added. “It’s in the middle the tibia top and that’s not where the pressure is, so that’s already good because if it was on the side it’d be more complicated. That’s also why they don’t want to operate on him. An operation is always bad.”

Contador’s next race is one of recovery. He will want to get back training on his bike soon in order to keep his fitness level high. The Vuelta a España, which he won in 2008 and 2012, could be an option, but if not, Contador could return in the end of year one-day races and the Tour of Beijing.

“We are not going to try to get him in the Vuelta if it’s not reasonable, but he wants to race. He wants to show what he can do,” Riis said. “He’s never been better. If he’s out for 10 days, he can still do it, but if he’s out for three weeks then it’ll be difficult.”

Contador returned from a doping ban to win the Vuelta in 2012, but was not at his best in the 2013 Tour last year and placed fourth. Over the winter, he worked with Sky’s former sports director Steven De Jongh and appeared better than ever this spring. He won the Tirreno-Adriatico and País Vasco stage races, and finished second overall in Algarve, Catalunya and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Riis reportedly signed Peter Sagan from Cannondale for next year. He could race for stages and the green jersey with Sagan in the 2015 Tour, but he explained that he believes that Contador could still lead the team with Roman Kreuziger, who is provisionally suspended, as a plan B.

“Alberto can still come back and be a winner, he has years in him. There’s not doubt about that,” Riis said. “It’ll be harder if he doesn’t race [the Vuelta] but he needs to be ready for it.”