Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) is set to take part in one of the more unusual engagements of his career in the New Year when he will receive his own weight in honey at a ceremony in the small town of Peñalver, to the east of Madrid. The town’s mayor,
José Ángel Parra, has announced that Contador will receive the award in the town’s central square on January 7.
Adding to the bizarreness of the ceremony, Contador will be weighed with the six bikes on which he won his grand tour titles. According to the mayor, Contador, who tips the scales at 60kg, is much lighter than those usually honored with the award. Consequently, said the mayor, “as an exception it has been decided to weigh the cyclist with the six bikes on which he achieved his greatest victories because we don’t want to be seen as being stingy.”
Speaking at a press conference in the honey-producing centre, the mayor explained that Contador will be weighed using an ancient set of scales. The Saxo Bank rider and his bikes will be held tight by two people on one side while kilos of honey are added to the other side until the two sides are evenly balanced.
Past recipients of the award include Camilo José Cela, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, and Spanish football’s World Cup-winning coach Vicente del Bosque.
Mayor Parra reminded those at the press conference that Cela and Del Bosque were among those who have gone to achieve great things in the wake of receiving the award. “This makes me believe that the honey acts as some kind of ‘talisman’ for them and it could be that Contador’s fourth Tour win will soon come his way,” said the mayor.
Following the ceremony, which is due to take place at 12.30 in the afternoon in Peñalver’s Plaza de España, a huge paella will be made for those present. However, the mayor added that it is unlikely that Contador will try the dish “because he is wary of the food he’s given nowadays”.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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