By Antonio J. Salmerón
Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, who lives in the 40,000 people city of Pinto, 20 kilometres south of Madrid, arrived on Monday afternoon in the Spanish capital. He was received by the President of the Comunidad de Madrid, Espernza Aguirre, who thanked the Pinto-born Contador to his great sport feat reached "in the name of all the Spanish people". Aguirre emphasized "his [Contador's] dedication and his personal values".
Contador dedicated words of gratefulness to those who gathered in the central plaza of the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, and at the same time he recognized the importance of his triumph. "Now I am realizing the effects of the Tour of France win and the desire to enjoy it and to celebrate it", the Discovery Channel leader said. "People were thankful to me for the spectacle [in France] and they have animated me to give [even] more. They have also want to make me train harder in order to obtain more successes", the Spaniard commented.
Contador has joined the select club of Spanish cyclists who have won the Tour de France. The first one was Federico Martín Bahamontes in 1959, followed by Luis Ocaña in 1973 and Pedro Delgado in 1988. And the last Spanish winner, Miguel Induráin, was the first one to win the Tour five consecutive times, reigning from 1991 to 1995. Last year's winner is still not officially decided, so another Spaniard, Óscar Pereiro, still has a chance. He finished tenth this year.
"I am proud that people admire me", Contador commented. He did not forget Òscar Pereiro, who, after the potential disqualification for doping of American Floyd Landis, could become the winner of edition 2006. "He is a great champion and they would have to give the Tour to him", Contador added. After the great effort done for winning the Tour, Contador will not dispute the Vuelta a España. "This year I will not do many more competitions and next year the high-priority objective will be the Tour of France," he admitted.