Al­berto Con­ta­dor

Procycling - - Rider Diaries -

6 Dec 1982 – First up, the num­bers. Al­berto Con­ta­dor won the Tours de France of 2007 and 2009, the Giro of 2008, the Vuelta in 2008 and 2012. He also posted the low­est ag­gre­gate times of the 2010 Tour and the 2011 Giro but was sub­se­quently stripped of both. He’s also won Tir­reno-Adri­atico, ParisNice twice, and the Vuelta al País Vasco and Vuelta a Castilla y León three times each.

He has been, with­out ques­tion, the best stage racer of the post-Arm­strong gen­er­a­tion. He’s also just about the per­fect sym­bol for the vi­cis­si­tudes of a sport at­tempt­ing to haul it­self out of a moral cesspit. For in­stance, he was gifted the 2007 Tour when Michael Ras­mussen was ejected but then ASO re­fused to in­vite his As­tana team the fol­low­ing year.

The dan­ger would be to lose sight of what a mag­nif­i­cent climber he is. Though the era – and his ca­reer – is char­ac­terised by great scep­ti­cism, there is no ques­tion that he is a sen­sa­tional ath­lete. That he’s not held in nearly the same es­teem as coun­try­man Miguel In­durain is in­dica­tive of his times but also, it must be said, of his own dif­fi­dence. His low po­si­tion here is in­formed by that to a de­gree, but also by the fact that he has never won a mean­ing­ful sin­gle- day race.

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