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Stephen Roche: Contador should bank Tour de France bid on major attack

Daniel Benson
July 10, 2013, 22:30,
July 11, 2013, 00:21
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, July 11, 2013
Tour de France
Stephen Roche in yellow in the 1987 Tour, becoming only the fifth cyclist in history to win the Tour de France and the Giro in the same year.

Stephen Roche in yellow in the 1987 Tour, becoming only the fifth cyclist in history to win the Tour de France and the Giro in the same year.

  • Stephen Roche in yellow in the 1987 Tour, becoming only the fifth cyclist in history to win the Tour de France and the Giro in the same year.
  • Stephen Roche shares a joke with other riders at the start of stage 5
  • Chris Froome (Sky) and former Tour champion Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff)
  • Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) also lost time to Chris Froome during stage 8

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Zero tolerance towards dopers but perhaps not past, says former Tour winner

Stephen Roche expects Alberto Contador to bank his Tour de France bid on one major attack and says that even if Chris Froome escapes without enduring a bad day, he is still capable of losing the race.

"Champions don't die and Alberto is one of the riders that I have a lot of respect for his race intelligence and his tactics," Roche told Cyclingnews on Wednesday.

"Alberto knows his terrain and it's the mountains and he has two stages where he can do it: l'Alpe d'Huez and Ventoux. He'll get one shot but he has to make sure it's the right one. He has to take the opportunity when he sees it."

Contador currently lies in fourth places, 3:54 down on Froome after the stage 11 time trial to Mont-Saint-Michel say the Sky leader increase his lead in the race.

"Saxo and Bjarne Riis are very good at judging a race and making the most of an opportunity. Bjarne wants to win, Contador wants to win and they're a very strong team," added Roche.

Froome has looked imperious thus far, the only question marks surrounding his team and whether the Sky leader can see out a maiden grand tour victory.

"I don't see Froome having a bad day but even if he has a good day he can be beaten on tactics as we saw the other day in the mountains. Maybe what happened the other day will fuel the ambitions of other riders."

Zero tolerance but possible protectionism

Last week Roche told Dutch website Nusport that a zero tolerance policy towards dopers should be enforced for the future and that cycling should no longer try and look towards the cheats of the past. Interestingly Roche has always denied doping, despite links and references to him in the Conconi files that pointed to EPO use in 1993, towards the end of his career.

"Riders today should not be paying for the riders of the past," Roche told Cyclingnews.

"What happened in the past happened but you cannot keep talking about the past because at some stage you've got to say stop. What happened, happened in a very bad period but anything that happens tomorrow, if you're caught you should be out of the sport."

Asked by Cyclingnews to deliberate on the period in which he raced, considering the backdrop of doping, Roche said his era was "brilliant. The best era that ever existed," before adding, "why do we always talk about this, isn't there much better things to be talking about than dragging it up? Here we are talking about zero tolerance. Why am I saying zero tolerance, you've got to move on. Here I am going into detail and we keep talking about it. We've got to go and look forward, not look behind and talk about what happened yesterday. We can make things better."

Cyclingnews then posed whether a stance based upon only looking forward, rather than back was merely a ploy based on protectionism of an era that has faced little scrutiny. The 1987 Tour, Giro and World champion sidestepped the question:

"Questions are asked everyday and I do pity the riders of today because every time someone looks at them and asks them a question they're looked at as being guilty of something without even appreciating what they're doing and I think that's really unfair."

"You journalists keep talking about it and while you journalists keep talking about it we're not going to go forward. Why you journalists think it's 'in' or cool to talk about it or think that the readers want to read about it, we're never going to get out of it. The people on the street here love cycling, they don't want to hear about doping. They've heard so much about it the last few years they want to move on."

Finally, Roche was asked if doping in the news was all down to the media.

"No it's everyone's fault because if there was no one doping there would be nothing to talk about. But, ok, lets not bring up the past, lets leave it there, lets move on and talk about the good things."


Sarcastic Wet Trout More than 1 year ago
True, so true. It's been at least *TWO MONTHS* since the latest doping scandal in a grand tour.
cyclemike66 More than 1 year ago
Nice try Stephen, but Ac can barely hold his teammate's wheel let alone go on some miraculous tactical attack. I agree he does need to attack but only so he can take back a few of the 10-15 minutes that he will be down on Froome after the Alps.
Jacanuk More than 1 year ago
What are you talking about? yes Contador had a bad day and yes that did give Froome over a min, but look at today┬┤s stage, he was ahead of or only a few seconds behind pretty much every other favorite and Kreuziger. So he could go on a insane attack and probably secure his 2nd place with a nice margin to Valverde, but with Froomstrong he has no chance in h.... , Froome wont have a bad day, he wont even break a sweat when people are trying to attack and they will see that and we will see a boring race from now on.
maplethedog More than 1 year ago
Barely hold wheels? Remove the alien-like Froome and he's 19 seconds down on GC. Hardly holding wheels.
vrusimov More than 1 year ago
The problem is, you can't remove Froome. If you somehow could, what a wide open race it becomes. Fascinating is it not?
Younis Mourabi More than 1 year ago
Contador has been much less aggressive than Quintana or even Valverde. So far, he has been a 'Comeback 2.0' style wheelsucker.
vcampbell More than 1 year ago
Yes a wheelsucker. Have you seen last years Vuelta or you just try to be stupid? There were 2 stage with moutains. In one of them, he was struggling, on the other one there wasn't any chance to get time back on Froome. Yes, maybe he should've tried to attack, but for why? For nothing? Not a clever man you are, huh?
Brandon Burkett More than 1 year ago
Stephen talk about your nephew (Daniel Martin). He looked pretty good in the Pyrenees.
longshadow More than 1 year ago
just look at AC's face going in the mountains. when in the past have you seen such a struggle and grimace on his face. he was truly suffering. Froome on the other hand, barely broke a sweat.
popoleke More than 1 year ago
hum, 2010 Tour ? Last Vuelta ?
neilf23 More than 1 year ago
What's killing me about all of these articles is the complete lack of admission that there is a gigantic elephant in the room. We all know what that is. And the commentators go on talking about the race as if what's happening is completely normal and natural. Froome is so obviously juiced to the gills it is kinda funny at this point. Theater of the absurd, really. Today I was almost rooting for him to crush Martin's time as a perfect salute to the absurdity of it all. Oh well, in a few years the second place rider will win the 2013 tour. And so it goes.
longshadow More than 1 year ago
and that 2nd place would have gone to be Porte before Sky got wise to the disparity. more of the theatre of the absurd.
longshadow More than 1 year ago
and where the hell is Wiggins. seems Sky can just churn out TdF winners at will.
mike73nz More than 1 year ago
Wiggins had not training like he did in 2011 and 2012. He's on a quiet year which is his normal thing after big years. Just look back at the Olympics in 2004 and 2008, the following years were not his best. He needs motivation again to train as hard as he did to win the races.
kdogg64 More than 1 year ago
I would say Porte's performance in the mountains looks like somebody who is clean. He overcooked it on the first day and paid for it on the second day. If Contador used to dope he is clearly no longer, as his performances this year have all been far less than stellar. I hope Froome is clean, but if he keeps up his current pace I will have serious doubts. The only way for him to lose will be for the other teams to keep attacking in the mountains to isolate him and hopefully he will have a bad day. If he doesn't slow down and lose some time to one or two of the other GC riders than it will continue to raise suspicions. If one of the other GC riders all of a sudden starts dominating in the mountains then people will absolutely think that rider is doping. That's just cycling this days.
mike73nz More than 1 year ago
Froome looks to be clean in my book, after his attack last saturday he just held the wheels on Sunday. If he was as juiced as you think he might be he might have attacked again on Sunday like AC, LA, Pantani used to day after day. Its not his fault that Moviestar only launched on attack late on sunday and Saxo did nothing. The rest of the Sky boys were cooked from the day before so had a bad day. another example of a clean team. USPS never had bad days!
kdogg64 More than 1 year ago
Wrong. LA had some really bad days and almost lost the race despite being doped. Landis would also disagree with you given his massive blowup and complete recovery in his TDF win, despite being doped.
Rob Alan More than 1 year ago
Just total rubbish. If sky are all juiced to the gills how come its only Froome, Porte and Kennaugh who are doing anything in the mountains. When US Postal were dominating I can remember Hincapie coming 14th overall. In the sky team, Porte cracked last sunday big time, Kiryenka was outside the time gap, and Lopez has done very little all tour. I can understand if people had some real evidence, but not this rubbish conspiracy theory type stuff. And Wiggins is not there because he has been injured. He only started training again a couple of weeks ago, and I think he has said he is looking towards the Vuelta potentially and the world TT championships.
optica More than 1 year ago
Why do you carry on watching cycling when you are convinced it is so absurdly tainted by dope takers?
kdogg64 More than 1 year ago
I still like watching people ride their bikes....that's why.
Dr.JSW More than 1 year ago
Evidence for him being "juiced to the gills"? If you really believe that, why don't you just quit watching and go watch soccer. Read Froome vitae. Don't you think it might have something to do with (1) him being born at altitude and (2) him being a good athlete since his was a kid and (3) him training hard 24/7. But you probably can't understand #2 or #3.
kdogg64 More than 1 year ago
Watch soccer? You do realize that Fuentes basically said that many big time soccer players were receiving his services.
veganpotter More than 1 year ago
These guys will dope if they know that their legacy CAN'T be tarnished 15 years from now. Many will dope anyway but any deterrent helps. There is a lot of shame in testing postive. If they know that the guys from the early 2000s haven't been let off the hook then maybe they'll be a little more affraid
Mark Schwitau More than 1 year ago
Great point. Had not thought of it that way.
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
Roche is a nice guy but has no credibility on this issue, better to be quiet. "You journalists"...sheesh it's been many years and still he is griping about spitting in the soup. I'm impressed CN has the brass to ask these questions. We'll see if this comment makes it through the moderator. Would have been nice if they had asked these type of questions during the Reign of "Mr. 7".
RidemanRide100 More than 1 year ago
The past is the future.
RidemanRide100 More than 1 year ago
Mr Roche. (Left that part out)
rshimizu12 More than 1 year ago
Stephen Roche is partially right when he says that the only way Contador can is to launch a major attack. The only problem is that we have not see any indication that AC is capable of gaining time on Froome.
vrusimov More than 1 year ago
uphill, downhill, flat ... it does not matter, Contador continues to go backwards in CHUNKS! In just 38km he has been relegated to perhaps not even making the podium.
yetanothergreenworld More than 1 year ago
Contador is not afraid to go apesh-t bonkers if he has to . . . even if it doesn't work. Such a nice change from the pattern of the last 20 years.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
that's why I like Contador, at least he will try.
Adam Fo More than 1 year ago
Contador is a busted juicer who continues to be in denial about it.
Tour de France
Tour de France 2013