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Tour gallery: Alberto Contador

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As happy as Alberto: Alberto Contador (Astana) was delighted with his time trial win, his rivals however weren't as impressed.

As happy as Alberto: Alberto Contador (Astana) was delighted with his time trial win, his rivals however weren't as impressed. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Race leader Alberto Contador (Astana) tried to keep out of trouble today.

Race leader Alberto Contador (Astana) tried to keep out of trouble today. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Astana's Alberto Contador at the stage sign-in

Astana's Alberto Contador at the stage sign-in (Image credit: AFP)
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Spaniard Alberto Contador (Astana) rides solo on Arcalis

Spaniard Alberto Contador (Astana) rides solo on Arcalis (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador ride towards Verbier. The Swiss mountain proved to be the first true battleground of the Tour, with Contador coming out on top

Astana teammates Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador ride towards Verbier. The Swiss mountain proved to be the first true battleground of the Tour, with Contador coming out on top (Image credit: AFP)
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Who's the boss? Alberto Contador flexes his muscles as he crosses the line for his stage victory

Who's the boss? Alberto Contador flexes his muscles as he crosses the line for his stage victory (Image credit: Sirotti)
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An exultant Alberto Contador (Astana) on the Tour de France podium

An exultant Alberto Contador (Astana) on the Tour de France podium (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana)

Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tour de France leader Alberto Contador (Astana)

Tour de France leader Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lance Armstrong riders near yellow jersey Alberto Contador on the Côte d'Araches. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) rides in front of teammate Bradley Wiggins.

Lance Armstrong riders near yellow jersey Alberto Contador on the Côte d'Araches. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) rides in front of teammate Bradley Wiggins. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The Schleck brothers lead Alberto Contador and Andreas Klöden on the Col de la Colombière.

The Schleck brothers lead Alberto Contador and Andreas Klöden on the Col de la Colombière. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador is metres away from winning the Tour's final time trial.

Alberto Contador is metres away from winning the Tour's final time trial. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) shows the effort it took to win the stage 18 time trial.

Alberto Contador (Astana) shows the effort it took to win the stage 18 time trial. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) on the podium for his time trial victory in Annecy.

Alberto Contador (Astana) on the podium for his time trial victory in Annecy. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador dons yellow again after the Annecy time trial.

Alberto Contador dons yellow again after the Annecy time trial. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) hammers up the climb in the stage 18 TT

Alberto Contador (Astana) hammers up the climb in the stage 18 TT (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador put in a storming ride to beat Cancellara by 3 seconds.

Alberto Contador put in a storming ride to beat Cancellara by 3 seconds. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador puts his head down and digs.

Alberto Contador puts his head down and digs. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Bang! Alberto Contador shoots down the competition in the TT.

Bang! Alberto Contador shoots down the competition in the TT. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Race leader Alberto Contador resplendent in yellow.

Race leader Alberto Contador resplendent in yellow. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) arrives at the finish in Aubenas.

Alberto Contador (Astana) arrives at the finish in Aubenas. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador gets zipped up by Bernard Hinault after stage 19.

Alberto Contador gets zipped up by Bernard Hinault after stage 19. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana)

Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) finishes alongside Alberto Contador (Astana), as Lance Armstrong (Astana) comes in a few seconds later

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) finishes alongside Alberto Contador (Astana), as Lance Armstrong (Astana) comes in a few seconds later (Image credit: AFP)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) wouldn't budge despite the repeated efforts of Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)

Alberto Contador (Astana) wouldn't budge despite the repeated efforts of Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) leads Astana teammates Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) leads Astana teammates Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Another day, another yellow jersey for Alberto Contador (Astana)

Another day, another yellow jersey for Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Liqugas) rides on the wheel of Alberto Contador (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Liqugas) rides on the wheel of Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) can just about holster the pistol for another Tour de France campaign

Alberto Contador (Astana) can just about holster the pistol for another Tour de France campaign (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Behind Andy Schleck, Alberto Contador is clearly pleased.

Behind Andy Schleck, Alberto Contador is clearly pleased. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) tries to shake Alberto Contador (Astana) loose, to no avail

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) tries to shake Alberto Contador (Astana) loose, to no avail (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux

Cool as a cucumber: Alberto Contador (Astana) speaks to Lance Armstrong (Astana) on the way up Mont Ventoux (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) leads Lance Armstrong (Astana)

Alberto Contador (Astana) leads Lance Armstrong (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) swings around the bottom corner

Alberto Contador (Astana) swings around the bottom corner (Image credit: AFP)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) enjoyed his ride to Paris.

Alberto Contador (Astana) enjoyed his ride to Paris. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Astana

Alberto Contador (Astana (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A very happy Alberto Contador (Astana)

A very happy Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) congratulates Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) as Alberto Contador looks on

Lance Armstrong (Astana) congratulates Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) as Alberto Contador looks on (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads Alberto Contador (Astana)

Lance Armstrong (Astana) leads Alberto Contador (Astana) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) navigates his way through Paris

Alberto Contador (Astana) navigates his way through Paris (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) was a deserving winner of the Tour

Alberto Contador (Astana) was a deserving winner of the Tour (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador (Astana) sends his signal

Alberto Contador (Astana) sends his signal (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) await the Spanish national anthem

Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Lance Armstrong (Astana) await the Spanish national anthem (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Thor Hushovd (Cervelo), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) display their jerseys

Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas), Thor Hushovd (Cervelo), Alberto Contador (Astana) and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) display their jerseys (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Astana were on hand to escort Contador to his second Tour de France title in Paris

Astana were on hand to escort Contador to his second Tour de France title in Paris (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alberto Contador signals his win as he crosses the finishline

Alberto Contador signals his win as he crosses the finishline (Image credit: Sirotti)

Never before has Alberto Contador's pistol signal carried more weight than it did at the top of Verbier on the third Sunday in July. The signal seemed an appropriate way to end the discussion about Astana's disputed captaincy.

"Bang! You can put that one to bed fellas, I'm the team leader," he effectively said as he climbed away from the other favorites.

Contador fired a salvo in the Pyrenees when he pulled to within six seconds of then yellow jersey wearer, Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R). The full arsenal was deployed later in Switzerland, and a stage win and the jersey were his.

This year's Tour has been a firm test of Contador's character and temperament. There's a few more days until the end of exams, but it will take a strong rival to knock him out of the top spot for 2009.

Click here to view images of Alberto Contador's Tour de France
 

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