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Contador’s Fuente Dé attack: History repeating itself

Spanish sports daily MARCA has revealed that Alberto Contador’s spectacular attack in the 2012 Vuelta on the Collado de la Hoz was in fact a re-run of an attack he made as an amateur. The big difference? The previous one failed.

In 2002, the second of Contador’s two years in the amateur peloton, during the prestigious Circuito Montañes stage race, he staged an attack at exactly the same spot, 3 kilometres from the summit of the second category climb where he attacked in the Vuelta this year.

“It was a very similar stage to the one in the Vuelta this year,” Contador’s director in his amateur years, Juan Gonzalez, told MARCA, “but perhaps even harder.”

Contador went away alone, was caught by Javier Ramirez Abeja, now racing with the Andalucia team, and by another rider shortly after the town of Potes at the foot of the Fuente Dé climb.

“I told him to attack again on a ramp called Los Llanos, and Alberto went away again, but was caught 500 metres from the line.”

“Wednesday’s stage was a carbon copy of that stage, with the difference that this time round it worked.”

Gonzalez recalls Contador as being “unpredictable, he would attack anywhere and everywhere and you didn’t need to push him to make a move. And you couldn’t stop him either because once he’d attacked it was better to leave him in peace!”

“He was the best climber of his generation “Gonzalez recalled “but despite his weight he was able to finish a close second in time trials like the Graniitier Breton prologue and the hillclimb in the Circuito Montañes” as well as winning the amateur Spanish time trials.

After just two years in the amateur peloton, Contador turned professional aged 20 and in that first year he won the time trial of the Tour of Poland.


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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, 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. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.