Lissavetzky lavishes "legend" status on Contador

Spain's State Secretary for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, has dubbed Tour de France champion Alberto Contador as a "legend of Spanish sport" following his countryman's third Tour triumph in four years.

The Astana captain, who also took out the 2007 and 2009 editions of the race, celebrated his third Tour de France crown in Paris on Sunday afternoon after one of the closest battles in the history of the race, with a winning margin of just 39 seconds that drew immense praise from Lissavetzky.

"Three Tours de France will become a legend of Spanish sport. The credit goes to Alberto, who managed to overcome the hard times - he had some problems during the past year and was able to overcome them," Lissavetzky told Europa Press.

"This year he struggled greatly to win the Tour. We must also congratulate Andy Schleck who rode a great race," he added.

And during a month that also saw Spain overcome the Netherlands in the final of football's showpiece event, the FIFA World Cup, the first time it has achieved that honour, Lissavetzky is living a dream as the nation's chief of sport.

"We have achieved the perfect square. It was unimaginable to live a month of July as we have lived, the credit goes to them, we are living a special moment," said Lissavetzky of Spain's distinguished athletes. "It's spectacular to think about what we have achieved, we have good athletes in all disciplines."

Contador will be received by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero this evening at the Palacio de la Moncloa after the nation's leader had called the rider in Paris to convey his congratulations.

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