Crossing the line at the completion of stage 21 at the Vuelta a España, overall race winner Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank) threw his arms in the air. He gestured the number seven with his hands, signifying his seventh grand tour victory.
The number however, is not technically correct. The Spaniard has, on paper, five grand tour wins to his name after he was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia titles following his positive test for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour.
Contador believes it’s the memory of seven overall wins that matters and not what the record books show. Before his positive test at the 2010 Tour, Contador was the winner of the Tour de France in 2007, 2009 and 2010, the Giro d’Italia in 2008 and 2011 and finally the Vuelta a España in 2008 and 2012.
"Mentally, it is the image of the grand tours that I won," said Contador to La Dernière Heure.
While Contador was stripped of all his results following his positive test at the 2010 Tour and received a two-year ban, he ultimately served just six-month away from competition as his suspension was back dated. The Spaniard returned to competition with Saxo Bank - Tinkoff at the Eneco Tour.
Contador has consistently denied any wrong doing regarding his positive test and stated that food contamination after eating a Spanish steak was the most likely cause for his positive control. He remains firm on his position and continued to reiterate his position after winning another grand tour.
"That other number appears on paper, it is ultimately secondary to me. What matters is my own feeling and the impressions that remain in the retina of the spectators," he said.