Immediately on his return from a ban for doping Alberto Contador delivered a searing win in the Vuelta a España thanks to a devastating ambush. El Pistolero is back with a vengeance… Or is he? As Procycling discovers, Contador envies the lower pressure on those less successful, has wanted to quit the sport altogether and, despite winning it twice, refuses to put the Tour de France on a pedestal. He may not even race it next year. Yet ambition still burns brightly for the Madrileño: “If I go to a race, my only intention is to win it,” is how he puts it. But where, exactly, will that ambition take him now?
When we ask Alberto Contador if he has ever thought of quitting cycling, he answers without a moment’s hesitation.
The Tour de France
Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez (left) lock horns at the Vuelta. Roberto Bettini
Did he surprise himself at how deep he was willing to go that day? “Not really but there were points where I had no idea if I could keep up the same pace all the way to the finish. It was a long ‘time trial’ and from the first point that I got across to the break, I was working on the front, first with [team-mate Sérgio] Paulinho then with Paolo Tiralongo [Astana] and finally alone.”
This feature appeared in the December issue of Procyclinig. To subscribe to the magazine click here.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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