Alberto Contador was serious about coming out of retirement, according to brother
'He had that fire to return' says Fran Contador
Alberto Contador’s flirtation with a comeback was deadly serious, even if it did not materialise, according to the Spaniard’s brother.
The seven-time Grand Tour champion hung up his wheels at the end of the 2017 season but made a shock revelation earlier this year that he had contemplated returning to professional racing during the pandemic.
Contador, now 39, hinted that he wanted to ride the 2020 Giro d’Italia, which would have required a mid-season transfer and a comeback after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus.
It would have been an extraordinary turn of events but his brother Fran, with whom he runs the Eolo-Kometa team, revealed this week that it came close to happening.
"Yes, yes, he was serious about it, he was serious about it" Fran Contador said, speaking on the BiciEscapa podcast.
"The thing is, when Alberto retired, he did so in very good physical condition - he’d just won on he Angliru [at the 2017 Vuelta a España -ed]. After retiring he has continued to feel strong and has been capable of pushing big numbers.
"But there you go. I’m sure that thought passes through the mind of every retired professional at one moment or another. For an athlete, especially on of Alberto’s level who’s used to winning, the transition into retirement isn’t easy. You spend your life either training or resting, and the sudden change is very tough. It’s natural to miss it.
"I understood perfectly that Alberto had that fire to return, that ‘why not’, the ‘I’m going to train and see if I can or not’. But in the end it was left at that. Alberto retired in a good way, at the top, and is now enjoying his life away from the bike."
Contador has hardly been idle since hanging up his racing wheels. He has developed his Contador Foundation into a professional team, Eolo-Kometa, who rose to ProTeam status in 2021, making their Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia and winning the stage atop Monte Zoncolan with Lorenzo Fortunato. Contador runs the team alongside his brother and his former teammate Ivan Basso, with whom he has also partnered to develop the bike brand Aurum.
Contador, who was stripped of the 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro d’Italia titles over a doping offence, showcased his mid-pandemic form by taking the Everlasting record in July last year. He climbed 8,848 metres in 7:27:20 to beat Lachlan Morton’s previous benchmark but the record has since been pushed on.
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By Jackie Tyson