A quick overview of the contenders for the 2011 Tour de France.
Why he wins Contador has only ridden four Tours de France, winning three (2007, 2009 and 2010) and finishing 31st on debut in 2005. In 2008 Contador didn’t ride the Tour but did ride the Giro and the Vuelta - winning both. Few of his contemporaries could imagine pulling off such a feat and many pundits gave him little chance at the time. But when you are the greatest Grand Tour rider of a generation such a prospect holds few fears. Now in 2011, having won the Giro in May, Contador is once again striving to win a second Grand Tour in the same year. The Giro-Vuelta double is one thing but everyone agrees that the Giro-Tour double is a whole other kettle of fish.
Make no mistake - the 2011 Giro was a beast. The final week so brutal that it may even cost race director Angelo Zomegnan his job. Contador definitely had to dig deep to win - most riders had to dig just as deep to finish - but he was never seriously threatened on GC. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether he will have recovered enough to take out the Tour. And even more speculation as to how well his key lieutenants Navarro, Hernandez and to a lesser extent Porte will have recovered.
The thing that makes Contador such a brilliant Grand Tour rider is not just his climbing and his time trialling but his unmatched recuperative powers day-to-day. If any rider has the physiology to recover well enough to be competitive in a second GT it is surely El Pistolero. Equally, Porte was instructed to keep an eye on his watts and never truly exerted himself until the final time-trial. And while Navarro and Hernandez did plenty of work in the mountains in support of their captain, they were never put in a position where they had to bury themselves day-in, day-out. Why? There was no need. Contador was so dominant in this year’s Giro that both Hernandez and Navarro were able to keep much of their powder dry - leaving them with plenty left to burn in July.
Andy Schleck has been dismissive of the strength of the Saxo Bank team - once again demonstrating that tactically he is a goose. He has underestimated just how fresh the Saxo mountain men will be. He has raised the ire of two proud Danes in Sørensen and Sörensen. And he has underestimated the burgeoning brilliance of Richie Porte. For mine, the likely revelation in this year’s Tour will be Porte and the way Riis motivates him to ride out of his skin on behalf of Contador. Porte is that good, that it could well be his efforts that are telling in the end on behalf of his team leader.
Will Contador win? Of course he will. He’s a freak. A once in a generation Grand Tour rider. The rest of the field will be battling for second.
Why he doesn’t Only two things can beat Alberto Contador this year - fatigue and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). If Contador really did burn too many matches at the Giro the final week of this year’s Tour may just find him out. It’s not as brutal as the last week of the Giro but in Tour terms it is very tough. The competition at the Tour will be faster and fitter than anyone he faced at the Giro and if he were to falter, there are several riders with the form and strong enough teams to make him pay. Likewise, if the result at the CAS post Tour goes against him - even if he wins, he loses.
I’ve seen this picture a few times now and something has been bothering me about it. Then I had one of those “epiphany moments” and the penny dropped.
The “contador” logo’s first three letters are coloured in the Gold for the Vuelta, Pink for the Giro and Yellow for the Tour. Now also the first three letter spell out CON - yep, maybe, just maybe Contador did CON his way to the Gold, Pink and Yellow?
But, I’m just a humble blogger on Tumblr, so what would I know?
I have many thoughts on the whole Contador situation, my personal opinion is that this is far from being over by any means.
The defense was not that he had Clenbuterol in his system but rather that he didn’t know that he did. The detection of any banned substance or an amount of substance that is out side of the allowed limit generally brings with it a 2 year ban.
The Spanish cycling federation’s Disciplinary Committee had issues a one year ban but decided to overturn it’s decision on Contador’s appeal. It was the interpretation of WADA code and the clause that was applied to the case that is what is on trial here, not the undeniable fact and admission that Contador had a banned substance detected in his system.
Which ever way I look at this I can only see this ending badly.
Alberto Contador today at the start of the Volta ao Algarve, returning to competition just one day after his ban being lifted.
If you’ve been living anywhere other than under a rock you’ll know by now that the 2010Tour De France Champion Alberto Contador (Spain) has tested positive to traces of the banned steroidβ2-agonist* Clenbuterol.
“Clenbuterol is not a steroid. As you correctly describe it is a “sympathomimetic amine”, better known as a β2-agonist. It may indeed have ‘anabolic’ effects, but this does not make it a steroid”
Clenbuterol (Spiropent, Ventipulmin) is a sympathomimetic amine used by sufferers of breathing disorders as a decongestant and bronchodilator. People with chronic breathing disorders such as asthma use this as a bronchodilator to make breathing easier. It is most commonly available as the hydrochloride salt clenbuterol hydrochloride.