www.albertocontadornotebook.info - Alberto Contador Fans Notebook



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93rd Milano-Torino

La Vuelta

Eneco Tour

Mallorca Challenge 2012

VI Tour de San Luis

The unforgettable Giro d'Italia

Alberto's third Tour

Alberto's second Tour

The Year of the Triple Crown

Photo credit: Newsletter logo - Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images


September 23, 2012 - Alberto sees possibilities for Freire and other Spaniards in "open race"

Spanish Worlds team trains on Saturday, September 22

Contador (r) says hello to the camera while training with the Spanish Worlds team (@albertocontador)

Alberto Contador expects an open Worlds road race with many possible scenarios, therefore he considers it best to wait before making predictions. “We’ll have to see how the race develops, and make decisions accordingly. But if, in the end, I’m there, I’m aware that there are faster riders than I am.”

The best thing to Contador is that he feels well after his victory in the Vuelta a España. “I feel very well, I’m happy to be here representing Spain, and I’m calm after having had everything turn out so well in the Vuelta.” And he’s also happy because of how the public is receiving the event in the Netherlands. “Ever since I arrived, training on the circuit, people have been impressive. Even some cyclotourists go faster than we do, because there you are, giving everything, and they ride right up beside you to snap a photo. It’s been a very good host country, I’m delighted.”

Alberto waved off the idea of possible problems in the Spanish selection due to having so many riders capable of being leader. “On the contrary, especially in this Worlds, which will be very open and during which a thousand things could happen in the race. There’s no script, and the more leaders, the better.”

About Freire, for example, he thinks that his performance will depend on “his state of form, which I don’t know exactly, but if he reaches the end in a group of 15 or 20 after the Cauberg, he’s clearly a candidate for the win.” And that’s because, after doing reconnaissance of the circuit, he thinks that it is not too hard. “Personally, I would’ve liked a longer climb, a kilometer and a half or two kilometers, because the Cauberg is hard, but not very long for someone like me.”

As for his own chances, he says that his Worlds “is different and it depends on how the race develops and which groups are in front. That’s where I have to make a move. We’ll have to wait for the final part of the Worlds, but if I have to help, I’ll be there, too.”

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


September 22, 2012 - Up-and-coming Dutch riders a threat for the future

NOS | Alberto Contador doesn't place himself with the favorites for the World Championship on Sunday in Limburg. "The Cauberg is too short for me."

The winner of the Vuelta will do his "best to be of good service to the Spanish team. We'll see how it plays out."

Besides Contador, the Spanish team will start with Alejandro Valverde, Oscar Freire and Joaquim Rodriguez.

Strong Team

"The Cauberg is hard, but way too short. In a short climb, it is really difficult to ride away. If you get 5 or 6 seconds, and after that you have a kilometer into the head wind, it gets difficult."

Given that rationalization, it will also be difficult for Rodriguez and Morena, 3rd and 5th in the Vuelta, to ride away. There is a good chance that the Spaniards will play the card for Valverde or 3-time worldchampion Freire.

"You Can't Climb"

At the end, Contador was asked another question: "Why aren't the Dutch winning at the moment? In terms of races: Holland is flat. You can't climb," joked the Spaniard.

"No, Holland has really good riders. Rabobank did well in the Veulta. It is a young team. At any moment, they can break through and start winning."

Video interview and more comments at NOS


September 19, 2012 - Disappointment over time trial loss is secondary to shock over tragic death of young Euskaltel rider

Alberto Contador finished 9th in the 2012 Valkenburg Worlds ITT

Alberto Contador was disappointed to finish only 9th in the Worlds ITT, but most riders would be happy to have such a day (Reuters)

Alberto Contador finished ninth in today’s elite men’s time trial at the Valkenburg World Championships, a race that was won by Tony Martin in a repeat of his victory last year. “It was a really hard time trial,” said Contador after finishing the race, during which he was overtaken by the German.

“It was really hard to get into rhythm at the beginning, and then again, when I saw that the car wasn’t behind me and that Tony Martin was closing in. Psychologically, when somebody laps you, it’s quite hard to pull yourself together, even though I knew that he was going to be very strong here,” said Alberto.

“From that moment, I committed to maintaining the distance until the finish, because when he caught me, I saw that I had no options for a medal,” said Contador. “I’m happy to have tried, but this was a different time trial, in which there was no exhaustion from the days before, like in a stage race. But I tried, and that’s that.”

Alberto said that he didn’t know if he was paying for the effort of the Vuelta: “You never know that. Evidently, when you’re giving everything day after day, you have a higher level of exhaustion, but that’s not to take credit away from anybody. There were great specialists here, and there are no words to describe Tony Martin.” “I’m happy, but I’m also disappointed, because it’s very difficult with so many specialists.

"What I’m experiencing is a state of shock,” said Contador, “because they just told me there’s been a tragedy involving Victor Cabedo. I just can’t believe it. He was a very young cyclist, whom I knew, and it’s just terrible. I am so very sorry. I want to send all my support and solidarity to his family, to his friends and to his team, who must be devastated by this misfortune.”

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


Alberto was off the pace at the first intermediate check, and given the nature of the course, it was unlikely that he would be able to make up the difference. The hour-long technical course, the changeable weather and a headwind made mischief. Contador survived it all, maintained a resptectable distance to Martin, and finished 9th, not a bad result for a bad day.

Italian Marco Pinotti was the living proof of the dangers of a technical course in fickle weather. Rounding a sharp bend, he slid, toppled and, with one quick pop, broke his collarbone.

Victor Cabedo, the young Euskaltel-Euskadi rider who died today, was hit by a car while training. He was 23.

RESULTS: Contador in 2012 Worlds ITT, 9th (2:30 Tony Martin - 58:38:80)

LEADERBOARD: 1 Tony Martin (58:38:80), 2 Taylor Phinney (00:00:05:37),3 Vasil Kiryienka (00:01:44:99)





September 18, 2012 - A medal's the goal, but Alberto says, “After the effort of the Vuelta, recuperating has not come easy”

2012 World Championships Alberto Contador did his last training session before the World Championship time trial in Valkenburg today, accompanied by fellow Spanish time trialist, Jonathan Castroviejo. Contador was optimistic about his form and about the parcours for the race, where he hopes to be in contention for a medal. “Today my legs felt looser, because after the effort of the Vuelta a España, recovery has not come easy, especially muscularly,” said Contador.

“After the Vuelta, everything has gone well, resting as much as possible, because this Vuelta was very demanding and the body pays for it. Today, however, I did feel pretty good on the bike, quite a bit more comfortable,” Contador explained. “I’ve already gone a fairly long time without riding the time trial bike, even though this week I rode it twice, but since the Pontevedra time trial I haven’t spent time much time with it, and the body resists the position. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”

Do you feel better than you thought?
No, that’s an unknown, I won’t know what my form is like until tomorrow when I push myself. Basically, since the Vuelta I’ve only rested, and now we’ll have to see how I respond. For me, it’s an unknown how I’m going to do in an isolated time trial, without it being within a stage race. I’ve only done a crono like this a few times in my career, and it’s completely different.

World Championships 2012 Do you like the route?
Yes, yesterday I saw it in the car, because in the morning we didn’t get a good look, and it has some bergs that ought to work out well for me, because you have to change pace and shift from the big ring. Those are zones that benefit me over the specialists. It looks like there’ll be a headwind, and it’s a route for going like gangbusters and moving a lot of power. When it goes up it’s not as bad for me as when it’s flat, but it’s a good route for power riders, like Tony Martin.

You’ll leave between Tony Martin and Taylor Phinney. Are you happy with your position?
Yes, at the end I’ll have all the references except Tony Martin’s, and that’s important, although in this race it’ll be a little different because it’s very demanding and it could make some people fall apart at the end. It will be a crono for focusing on yourself.

Being realistic, are you thinking about a medal?
I think that you’ve always got to think about that, even though I’m also aware that there are great specialists and I know that it’s difficult. But if I don’t think about that goal, it’s impossible to achieve it. I’m going with that goal. There’s a lot of talk about Wiggins and Cancellara not being here, but there are others, like Tony Martin, Kessiakoff, Phinney, Van Garderen and Chavanel. There are lots of riders, but I’m singling out Tony Martin above all the others, on his own merit. I’m there, one of a group fighting for the medals.

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


Results, reports, news, photos, video, and audio

La Vuelta 2012



August 12, 2012 - Alberto and Saxo-Tinkoff go to the front for display in Belgian wrap-up

Alberto Contador stretched his legs in the second half of a pitching, tossing parcours in Belgium's classics country for a rousing end to his tune-up for the Vuelta a España.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 7, 8th (winner: Ballan). Contador in GC, 4th (winner: Boom)



August 11, 2012 - Alberto's time trial performace promises big for Vuelta

Stage 6, Saturday, August 11: Ardooie (B) - Ardooie (B), 17.4 km (ITT)

Alberto Contador did a good individual time trial today in the Eneco Tour, as he confirmed after the race: "I felt pretty ordinary physically, because I'm still short of efforts like this, and I still have to get some carbon out of the engine, as they say in cycling jargon, but I can be satisfied with it. I didn't feel super, but the gaps weren't too wide with the riders who have their eye on victory. My preparation for the Vuelta a España is going perfectly."

Tomorrow's final stage of the race covers the legendary roads of the Tour of Flanders, an unfamiliar region for Contador. "Tomorrow will be an adventure for me, because I'm not familiar with it, but I'm happy about getting to know it and enjoying the fans and this race. When the day's over, I have to rest as well as possible, thinking ahead to next Saturday and the start of the Vuelta a España."

Alberto considers the results of this first week back in competition to be quite good. "This whole week, including the time trial, is good enough to be satisfied with, because it was a time trial where I never had to get out of the saddle or launch a sprint, which is how I feel comfortable. I was on the saddle the whole time and I'm missing a lot of competition hours, but I'm happy. As for tomorrow, there are other riders who are more capable than I am and who have a more flawless technique, but I'm eager to enjoy the stage."

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


Alberto Contador put in a strong performance at the Eneco Tour today, covering the 17.4-km flat individual time trial in 20:47 to place 7th on the day, 0:22 behind winner Svein Tuft of Canada. Contador now moves to 10th at 0:49 in the general classification as Tuft moves to the top of the overall leaderboard.

Contador continued his tune-up for the Vuelta a España, on his Specialized time trial bike, with a ride that reflected a kind of focus, motivation, determination and fire that we have hardly seen in the peloton for six months. In addition, the live-stream interview before the start today showed that he remains, after two years of adversity, the sharp, thinking professional and modest, pleasant person that we´ve always admired.

“Alberto surely hasn't got the same max speed yet as many of the other time trial specialists on a short course like this but we're confident that he's on the right track and I think today's result demonstrated that fact," said Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank director Fabrizio Guidi. "Tomorrow, it will be first and foremost about safety again and I think we're in for a highly dramatic stage but if the opportunity should occur for us, we'll go for it."

With one stage left to go in the Eneco Tour, Contador will conclude his first race back in competition tomorrow with a classics-style romp through Belgium.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 6, 7th (0:22 Tuft). Contador in GC, 10th (0:49 Tuft).

More to come



All about Contador's Eneco Tour at RACE WATCH


August 10, 2012 - Another flat sprinters' stage in the books

Stage 5, Friday, August 10: Hoogerheide (NL) - Aalter (B), 184.6 km

Eneco Tour 2012 Alberto Contador finished Stage 5 of the Eneco Tour without incident today. The 184.6-kilometer stitch basting the Holland/Belgium border produced another sprint finish, this time won by Giacomo Nizzolo. Race leadership remains in the hands of Tom Boonen.

This weekend will bring Contador two valuable chances to test form, both in Belgium, as preparation for the upcoming Vuelta a España: a 17.4-km individual time trial at Ardooie on Saturday, and a classics-like stage on Sunday with a climb of the formidable Muur of Geraardsbergen at the end.

Saxo-Tinkoff's director Tristan Hoffman said after today's stage, “It was a pretty quiet day in the peloton on a totally flat course and without any wind to create difficulties. David (Tanner) tried to jump away in the finale but it all came down to a sprinter match and we could obtain our objective of bringing the boys safely across the finish line. Tomorrow however, we'll be testing the legs on the time trial where we're going in full gas. On Sunday there's another chance of testing the condition as we're in to a real treat with the Muur."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 5, 63rd (s.t. Nizzolo). Contador in GC, 49th (0:33 Boonen)

TOP THREE: 1 Boonen (19:36:26:), 2 Keukeleire (0:01), 3 Chavanel (0:02)



August 9, 2012 - Flat stage straddles Belgian/Dutch border

Stage 4, Thurs. August 9: Heers (B) - Bergen op Zoom (NL), 213.3 km

Alberto Contador and his Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team survived another long, flat stage today in the Eneco Tour. Marcel Kittel of Argos Shimano won again in a final sprint, and Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma-Quick Step moved into the leader's jersey.

According to Fabrizio Guidi, Saxo-Tinkoff director: ”We were focused on Alberto throughout the whole day and we simply brought him safely through the stage. There were quite a few nasty bends at a high pace in the finale, so we had to be really careful. For now, we're playing the waiting game as Alberto is saving his strength for the time trial where he can test his legs. Tomorrow, I expect another bunch sprint although we have to pay attention to the wind, which might cause some damage if it picks up."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 4, 53rd (0:05 Kittel). Contador in GC, 50th (0:33 Boonen)

TOP THREE: 1 Boonen (15:26:06), 2 Keukeleire (0:01), 3 Chavanel (0:02)



August 8, 2012 - Bergs, quick tricky finish, day's work done

Contador rolls out for Stage 3 of the Eneco Tour

Alberto Contador rolls out for Stage 3 of the Eneco Tour (Kahane)

Stage 3, Wednesday, August 8: Riemst (B) - Genk (B), 188 km

Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank-Tinkoff teammate David Tanner launched an attack in the last two kilometers that initiated the final drama in Stage 2 of the Eneco Tour today.

Tanner's fanfare was cut off by a hammering peloton. Theo Bos emerged as winner from a fistful of velocistas, and Contador got safely across the line. Jens Keukeleire remains in the leader jersey.

Tristan Hoffman, DS for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, said after the stage, ”We stayed in the peloton throughout the stage as four riders managed to slip away in the beginning of the stage. In the finale, the pace was picked up but David had good legs and had the power to create a gap at a critical time in the peloton where the course offered a whole lot of turns. But the gap wasn't big enough to last all the way as we finished the stage on a big an open road where the field really hit the gas. I expect another sprinter's match tomorrow where we'll protect and support Alberto just like we did today."

More soon

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 3, 41st (s.t. Bos). Contador in GC, 46th (0:27 Keukeleire)

TOP THREE: 1 Keukeleire (10:14:26), 2 Langeveld (s.t.), 3 Tuft (s.t.)



August 7, 2012 - Eneco Tour, Stage 2: Contador happy with team's crono work, emphasizes that he's not pursuing GC

Contador rounds a bend with the peloton in Eneco Tour Stage 1

Contador and team line up for Tuesday's team time trial (Kahane)

Stage 2, Tuesday, August 7: Sittard - Sittard (NL), 18.9 km (TTT)

Alberto Contador was able to draw some good conclusions from the team time trial in Eneco Tour Stage 2 today, despite Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank not finishing at the top of the leader board. "I've felt good physically and my legs are going pretty well, but it was a very flat time trial for me, and it's on the climbs that I'm best able to make the difference," he said at the end of the stage.

"I'm happy with the team. We were synchronized well, but there are other teams who are stronger for this time trial, and others for whom this race is more important, because our goals lie farther ahead," explained Contador. "Anyway, I'm happy with the work done, and now we're going to recover so that we can tackle the next few days and continue the tune-up for the Vuelta."

Alberto admitted that, even though he likes to fight for the general classification in every race and "to try to do well, this is a race that totally goes against my characteristics and it's complicated to put myself in the fight for the general. We'll see what result we get, but what's important here is to work for the Vuelta a España."

Finally, Contador acknowledged that he's enjoying the atmosphere within the team and being back with his teammates. "Yes, I'm very happy because this is the team that I want to be on. I'm sure that there's none better for making my comeback, and I've never felt that I was off the team. There is complete harmony, and that's extremely important for being able to perform in the big goals that are coming up shortly."

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


Alberto Contador's Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team finished in 9th place in the Stage 2 team time trial of the Eneco Tour.

Contador crossed the line with only five teammates, but the effort was equal to that of Garmin Sharp, a team that excels in the TT. The two squads finished 27 seconds behind the winning team, Orica Greenedge. Other teams that usually promise to deliver in time trials had off days. Both Team Sky and BMC earned lacklustre results, Sky falling apart before the intermediate check, and BMC losing their hopes due to a crash. RadioShack, as well, only finished 6th, so all in all, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, who's TTT ability was in question, acquitted itself well.

Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank DS Fabrizio Guidi said of the stage, “Beforehand, we were aiming for a top result today but we didn't quite achieve our goal. But we're not stressing about anything. The riders rode well together on the course, so we just need that final bit of punch to get the result. This is Alberto's first race in a long time, but he really took impressive responsibility today and showed good form. From now on, we'll take the stage day by day to see what we can do, but we will be out there to try and show the colors for sure."

RESULTS: Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank in Stage 2, 9th (0:27 Orica Greenedge). Contador in GC, 47th (0:27 Keukeleire)

TOP THREE: 1 Keukeleire (5:59:37), 2 Langeveld (s.t.), 3 Tuft (s.t.)

PHOTO DAYBOOK (Kahane) - PHOTO DAYBOOK (AC press room)



August 6, 2012 - In Eneco Tour Stage 1, the Saxo-Tinkoff boys obeyed orders not to crash

Contador rounds a bend with the peloton in Eneco Tour Stage 1

Contador rounds a bend with the peloton in Eneco Tour Stage 1 (AC press room)

Stage 1, August 6: Waalwijk (NL) - Middelburg (NL), 203.9 km

Alberto Contador finished the first stage of the Eneco Tour with no problem, in spite of being detained, but not harmed, by the final crash. He said that he had had "pretty good physical feelings, considering that it wasn't the best day to debut, with more than 200 kilometers, rain, a lot of wind and complete flat. I don't think that we climbed more than 100 meters in the entire stage," he commented.

The most important thing for the leader of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank was, however, the work of the team. "My teammates protected me constantly and I think that these days will be really good for getting into rhythm for the Vuelta a España." Today, his goal was simply to finish without encountering problems. "Yes, the order was to avoid crashes and the best way to do that is to be in front. It's true that we expended a lot of energy, thinking that tomorrow there's a time trial, but what's paramount here is not to crash, because the objective is to be toward the front."

He expects good things for tomorrow. "We've got a good team and I think that we can do a great performance. We have to look at the route and see how we do with the crono." Finally, Alberto said that he feels "very happy to be back with all my teammates at Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank. I'm thrilled with them all. They busted their buns for me and I hope that, in what's left of the season, we can be playing a leading role."

Official press release, Alberto Contador press room


Alberto Contador was well protected by his Saxo Bank-Tinkoff team today in a 203.9-km stage on pancake flat roads from Waalwijk to Middelburg.

Stage 1 of the Eneco Tour was blasted by wind off the North Sea, but Contador and team stayed safe in spite of a large crash within the last 3 km. The pile-up detained the Saxo riders, but due to the 3-km rule, Contador finished in the same time as the stage winner, young German sprinter Marcel Kittel.

After the stage, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank director sportif Fabrizio Guidi said, “For us it was all about safety and not taking any silly risks, going to the front of the pack and staying out of trouble and we succeeded perfectly. The riders were working brilliantly as a team and Alberto seems as strong and determined as ever. Tomorrow, we hope for a very good result on the team time trial and we have to put in a 100 % effort in order to deliver just that and put Alberto as close to the top of the rankings as possible."


According to Christine Kahane, our correspondent at the races, the crowd in the start town of Waalwijk today was impressive enough to resemble a Tour de France stage, thick with people who had come to welcome Contador. The Dutch fans – all of whom seem to love cycling from birth – showed their appreciation by greeting Alberto with an enthusiastic ovation.

The race organizers were also far from blasé about the champion re-entering competition at Eneco, and brought him onto the podium to receive a gift basket of Dutch gourmet goodies from Miss Eneco before the stage. The riders of the peloton, for whom Contador's suspension and issues surrounding it have been deep concerns, were very positive as well. "All the riders from other teams wanted to shake hands with him, and he was moved," Christine reported.

On the way to the start line, Contador encountered a little boy in a wheelchair, waiting with his mother, and signed an autograph for him. "Alberto made him so happy he could hardly believe what was happening to him. It was an emotional moment," said Christine.

As a result of the tenor of events prior to the start of the Eneco Tour, Christine, a native of France, believes that Contador will be more popular than ever, now that his suspension has ended. "I think that what he went through will strenthen his popularity, if not in France, at least in all other countries."

Clearly, his ovation at the Eneco Tour today has been quite the opposite of the boos and whistles of the 2011 Tour de France presentation in the Vendée, and much more in line with what is due to a champion like Contador, who is acknowledged throughout the sport as both brilliant and humble, and who treats all people with respect.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 1, 106th (s.t. Kittel). Contador in GC, 108th (0:10 Kittel)

TOP THREE: 1 Kittel (5:38:18), 2 Demare (0:04), 3 Phinney (0:06)


PHOTO DAYBOOK (Kahane) - MORE PHOTOS (AC press room)


Riding for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank:
11 Alberto Contador, 12 Manuele Boaro, 13 Karsten Kroon, 14 Benjamin Noval, 15 Nick Nuyens, 16 Luke Roberts, 17 David Tanner, 18 Matteo Tosatto


January 29, 2012 - Argentinean race concludes with GC 2nd and two stage wins for Contador

Stage 7, January 29: San Luis – San Luis, 167 km

Alberto Contador finished with the pack today as Tom Boonen won the seventh and final stage of the 2012 Tour de San Luis. Boonen's teammate Levi Leipheimer took the overall victory.

The final podium offered something for everyone: Leipheimer, a big name from a top European team whom Contador described as being in superb condition, deserved his place on the top step. Contador rewarded the people of Argentina, who had welcomed him so enthusiastically, with 2nd overall and two stage wins (including the queen stage), as well as runner-up in the mountains classification. Finally, a hometown rider - Daniel Díaz of the San Luis Somos Todos team - brought honor to himself and his home race by earning the third sport on the podium.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 7, 51st (s.t. Boonen). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:46 Leipheimer).

TOP THREE: 1 Leipheimer (22:38:18), 2 Contador (0:46), 3 Díaz (1:29)



January 28, 2012 - Contador continues into final stage in 2nd overall

Stage 6, January 28: Luján – Quines, 201 km

Alberto Contador maintained his second place in the general classification today in Stage 6 of the Tour de San Luis, but ceded the KOM jersey to Miguel Ángel Rubiano of Androni Giocattoli. The stage, the longest day on the road in this year's edition, was won in a sprint by Elia Viviani of Liquigas, with J.J. Haedo of Saxo Bank second.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 6, 28th (s.t. Viviani). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:46 Leipheimer).

TOP THREE: 1 Leipheimer (22:38:18), 2 Contador (0:46), 3 Díaz (1:31)



January 27, 2012 - "If they'd told me at the beginning of the race that I was going to win two stages, I wouldn't have believed it"

Tour de San Luis 2012, Stage 5

Contador wins the queen stage of the Tour de San Luis (AC press room)

Stage 5, January 27: La Toma – Merlo (Mirador del Sol), 160.6 km

Alberto Contador got win number two today at the Tour de San Luis by prevailing atop the Mirador del Sol in Stage 5. Contador proved to be the strongest on the extremely tough ascent to the queen stage summit finish, and wound up leader of the King of the Mountains classification as well.

"I'm very happy. If they'd told me at the beginning of the race that I was going to win two stages, I wouldn't have believed it," he said.

"The Mirador del Sol," said Alberto, "felt like a very hard climb to me. I used a 36x28 gear, and that allowed me to climb well. Leipheimer is very strong and he's a worthy winner of the race, he deserves it. I wanted to try because you can always aspire to more – that's what I like to do – but when I started and I saw that I wouldn't be able to take back the minute that Levi had on me in the general, I preferred to save my strength and think about the stage. I won the mountain jersey, but that wasn't the goal: it was a consequence of the victory," Contador concluded.

(Official press release, Alberto Contador press room)


A battle in the final kilometers played out as follows: Contador attacked out of a small group of rivals – including Vincenzo Nibali, José Serpa, Leipheimer and local boy Daniel Diaz – at around the 4 km mark, but was unable to dislodge race leader Leipheimer. Contador maintained over the next two brutal kilometers, sticking with the North American and the Argentinean as the others came unhitched on ramps of as much as 15.5%.

"We started the final climb very strong, the team went full gas because I wanted to try for the stage win. We controlled the escape's gaps," said Alberto at the post-stage press conference. "The final climb was very nice even though maybe a bit demanding for this time of year. I attacked in the final four kilometers to see if I could open a gap and do some damage, but I couldn't get the better of Levi. I decided to save my strength and wait until the arrival, since his form is impressive for this altitude, and to make a play for the stage win."

Diaz launched a scorching attack in last kilometer that promised to be a death blow to his star opponents, but Contador shut it down with authority. He accelerated with his trademark dancing-on-the-pedals style and outstripped Diaz on a slight curve just meters before the line.

"When Dani Diaz attacked, I calculated the distance and luckily I got past him before he got to the line. I'm happy with the result because I took a shot at it," he said.

Crossing the line, Diaz saluted modestly at having been able to arrive only two seconds behind the best climber in the world. Leipheimer lost only five seconds, and was content to keep the leader jersey.

Contador continued, "We carried out the strategy: to hammer so that the escape wouldn't succeed and to fight for the stage win, because I knew that it would be complicated to distance Levi," he added.

"You have to give the maximum for any victory, even more to measure up to a standard when you don't have your pedal stroke. I'm thinking about March, in Tirreno, Catalunya and Basque Country, but every time there's a race I like to do it well," he stressed.

Saxo Bank DS Philippe Maduit summarized, ”As the leading team, Quick Step took the responsibility of the pacemaking in the field and a whole lot of riders were simply exhausted as we hit the foot of the climb. Alberto made a relative early escape, first alone and later he was followed by Levi and Diaz while Schumacher and Nibali cracked on the final kilometers. It was a terrific re-match after yesterday's time trial and I guess there's hardly any better climber than Alberto in the peloton here and we're more than content with our two stage wins in the race."

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 5, 1st (4:19:59). Contador in GC, 2nd (0:46 Leipheimer). KOM leader.

TOP FIVE: 1 Leipheimer (17:27:52), 2 Contador (0:46), 3 Diaz (1:31), 4 Schumacher (1:36), 5 Nibali (1:50)



Tour de San Luis 2012, Stage 5

Alberto on the road to his second win in 2012 (AC press room)


January 26, 2012 - Stage 4 against the clock was a stinker but "tomorrow is another day"

Tour de San Luis 2012, Stage 3

Alberto tweeted this photo after the race, with the caption "These time trials in January can't be good! ufff ;-)" (@albertocontador)

Stage 4, January 26: San Luis – San Luis, 19.5 km (ITT)

Alberto Contador accepted his loss of the leadership of the Tour de San Luis with good grace today, after arriving sixth in the Stage 4 time trial. The crono, won by Levi Leipheimer, sent the leader jersey back to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, who have claimed it on three out of four days so far in Argentina.

"It was a hard time trial, for specialists. Cadence I've got, but I lack training and hours on the time trial bike," Alberto said. "Anyway, I'm happy. Yesterday's result was unexpected, today's was more normal," he added.

Today's 19.5-km course started on the streets of San Luis, ran out along the highway, reversed and retraced its path past the start house, and finished on a slight upward tilt to the Plaza Pringles. The January summer heat and a headwind on the ride back into town made the final three kilometers tougher.

Contador, as race leader, was the last to finish. With limited live coverage, world viewers waited on pins and needles to see him emerge into view in the final kilometer. When he appeared, he was, astonishingly, flanked by a presidential-looking escort of a dozen or more motorcycles. It was an impressive gesture of pride and affection by the hosts for the man from Pinto, but the distraction might have cost him seconds.

At any rate, Alberto finished the test in 23:24, 1:01 behind Leipheimer. "I'm very happy with the result and tomorrow is another day," he said sportingly.

He will sharpen his physical performance during the next few weeks. "The goal is not to be in form now, but rather in two months, especially in the Tour, and I also want to be at a good level in the races in March and April," he stressed.

After the stage, Saxo Bank DS Philippe Maduit explained: ”Leipheimer was the natural favorite to take the win today and he did a very good job on the time trial. As I mentioned before, Alberto is not in peak shape and that influences his performance today. And he doesn't have to peak at this moment. With yesterday's big win, he showed his great class by winning a mountain stage after six months' break from racing and that's more than we could have hoped for. Now, we'll focus on the next few stages taking one at a time."

The Tour de San Luis goes back into the mountains tomorrow with a summit finish on the Mirador del Sol.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 4, 6th (1:01 Leipheimer). Contador in GC, 4th (0:57) Leipheimer)

TOP FOUR: 1 Leipheimer, 2 Schumacher (0:53), 3 Nibali (0:55), 4 Contador (0:57)




January 25, 2012 - Report: Alberto's unexpected victory the cherry on top of a perfect day for Saxo Bank

Tour de San Luis 2012, Stage 3

The new Saxo Bank kit modeled in victory (AC press room)

Stage 3, January 25: Estancia Grande – Mirador del Potrero, 168.2 km

Alberto Contador attacked on the slopes of the Mirador de Potrero de los Funes today and climbed to victory in Stage 3 of the Tour de San Luis, notching his first triumph of 2012. With the win, the captain of the Saxo Bank team moves into the race leadership.

"The stage was hard, with a hard climb," said Alberto at the finish line, "but we controlled the escape and everything went to perfection. But the one thing I didn't expect was to get the win."

"To tell the truth, I was better than I expected. I worked really hard; I accelerated until the finish. I was able to win by suffering and I'm very happy. It's a prize that I didn't expect."

Contador's first career conquest in the Americas was achieved on a sunny summer day in San Luis province, Argentina. The unfolding of the dramatic events of the day crackled through broken lines of communication. News of an interminable climb to the top of Nogoli, a perilous descent, and a split in the peloton filtered through from South America as the world clung to Twitter and a local radio broadcast via the internet, waiting for the climb of the Mirador de Potrero and the shortest verse.

Finally the words came: Contador attacks! Other aces countered in those final meters, but none could match his pace. Levi Leipheimer (OPQ) finished on Alberto's wheel, but lost four seconds in bonifications.

"At the end I had my doubts, and also before the race, because I've been without the bike for many months, since the Tour de France," he continued. "The first time that I trained was after the team training camp in Israel, in the second half of December."

"This was an unexpected victory because there were so few kilometers," said Contador, modest as usual. "All victories are important because behind each victory is a lot of work. The team has also been phenomenal because they didn't know that this is how things would play out."

Remembering the citizens who have rolled out the red carpet to welcome him far from his regular circuit, Alberto honored the locals with a dedication: "All victories are important, and I'd like to dedicate this one to all the people here, in Argentina, who have behaved incredibly to me these past few days. They are supporting me to the maximum."

Saxo Bank's directeur sportif, Philippe Maduit, described the action: ”It was a perfect day for us, with total control. Going towards the first climb, we were in the first line and we put Jesús in the breakaway on the climb and gained control of the pack on the descent, and reeled in the escapees before launching Alberto on the final ascent. He was superb."

"Naturally," Maduit added, "he's not going to be in shape for the Tour just now, but still he's the best. It was simply a great feeling watching him take off and take that first season win, and we'll try to defend the leader's jersey."

With Leipheimer and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali in close proximity, the stage is set for a nailbiter in tomorrow's 19.5-km individual time trial.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 3, 1st (4:29:27). Contador in GC, 1st (12:45:14).

TOP FIVE: 1 Alberto Contador Velasco (12:45:15), 2 Levi Leipheimer (0:04), 3 Stefan Schumacher (0:19), 4 Daniel Diaz (0:22), 5 Vincenzo Nibali (0:36)



January 25 - Official press release: Alberto thanks his team for helping him to a tough win in Argentina

Tour de San Luis 2012, Stage 3

Alberto Contador's first winner's podium of 2012 (AC press room)

Stage 3, January 25: Estancia Grande – Mirador del Potrero, 168.2 km

Alberto Contador managed a win today on the Mirador del Potrero, the first summit finish of the Tour de San Luis, where he sprinted with his ex-teammate Levi Leipheimer to take the stage and the race leadership.

Alberto said, after mounting the podium, that he was "better than I expected, because I had my doubts, since I've gone so many months without riding the bike, after the Tour de France. I started training after the training camp in Israel, in the second fortnight of December, but in spite of everything, we did a good job and got a victory that was rather unexpected for me."

Contador said that all victories "are important and I'd especially like to thank the work of my team for this one, because it was complicated for me. But I had to respond after the work that my teammates did, it was my responsibility. This victory comes at a special moment, but all victories are special."

Alberto also thanked his hosts for the reception that he's had in Argentina in general, and specifically in San Luis province. "I'd heard very good things about this race, and I recommend it to everyone. The people are incredible and even though I can't satisfy everyone with photos and autographs, I thank you all for how you've received me."

The leader of Saxo Bank knew this climb because he had done reconnaissance the day before the race began. "I viewed it from the car because it rained heavily that day, but I still didn't know just how it would be. We've made a little selection, but I had doubts. I certainly didn't really know what it would be like, nor how the rivals would be doing. But everything turned out well. I couldn't leave without trying."

Finally, Alberto Contador pointed to Leipheimer as "the strongest for the general. He looks very fit and well-trained. For me, this victory was important, but there are other riders who are more likely favorites than I am, for the time trial tomorrow and for the general."


(Official press release, Alberto Contador press room)


VI Tour de San Luis, January 23-29, 2012

Race Atlas

Maps, profiles and information about the stages of the Tour de San Luis



January 24, 2012 - Sprint today, mountains tomorrow

VI Tour de San Luis Alberto Contador survived another rough day on the road today in Stage 2 of the Tour de San Luis, finishing 45th in a bunch with 155 other riders. Francesco Chicchi (OPQ) took his second photo-finish sprint in a row, this time over his own teammate Tom Boonen. Contador’s Argentinean teammate J.J. Haedo maintained his second place overall by finishing fifth. Contador now ranks 20th in the GC, at 0:20 (as a result of bonifications) behind Chicchi.

“It was a day exclusively for the sprinters, and very nervous,” he said after the stage. “After what happened yesterday, everyone wanted to arrive with the sprint and I had to dodge crashes again. It was a complicated day, even though it was short. Luckily I didn’t have any problems and I didn’t crash, and I’m already thinking about tomorrow.”

Tomorrow’s stage to Mirador de El Potrero de los Funes is the first of two summit finishes in this edition of the Tour de San Luis, and Alberto’s first chance to stretch his legs on an ascent in 2012.

“It’s going to be good for me to know what my level is. I think there’ll be better riders than I am. It makes sense, since I’ve only trained a little, and we’ll just have to see what result I get,” he said.

Contador has warned that he does not plan to be a factor in the general classification, and so he will tackle the mountains in Stage 3 without pressure. Nevertheless, at only 20 seconds off the lead, he is in a competitive position after two stages.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 2, 45th (s.t. Chicchi). Contador in GC, 20th (0:20 Chicchi)



Alberto Contador's first race of 2012

TOUR DE SAN LUIS official website

Riding for Saxo Bank in Argentina: 1 Alberto Contador, 2 Jesús Hernández, 3 Juan José Haedo, 4 Lucas Sebastian Haedo, 5 Matteo Tosatto, 6 Troels Vinther, 7 Christopher Juul Jensen


January 23, 2012 - Hail fell like marbles, Contador punctured but survived the day

VI Tour de San Luis Alberto Contador finished Stage 1 of the Tour de San Luis today with good marks, landing 21st at the finish line in a group with Vincenzo Nibali and other GC favorites.

Saxo Bank's velocista, Juan José Haedo of Argentina, came within a hair of winning the final sprint, which was taken by Francesco Chicchi (OPQ) in a photo finish. Chicchi netted ten bonus seconds with the win.

Heavy rain, wind and hail pelted the riders throughout the stage. There were numerous crashes as a result, in fact, the summer storm brought the peloton to a halt in the early kilometers.

After the stage, Alberto said, "We came looking for warm weather and sun, but what we found was cold and rain. We had to stop for a while because of the hail; hail was falling like marbles. It's been a more complicated stage than we expected. There was quite a bit of tension."

As if the foul weather and jitters weren't enough, he also punctured. "Coming into the finale there was a crash. I avoided it, although I punctured at around 40 kilometers to go when the peloton was riding hard. It nearly spoiled things, but in the end we recovered, and afterwards we decided to take responsibility for the peloton," he said.

Contador arrived in a front group of 33 riders who survived a split in the peloton, and he was unaware that important competitors like Visconti and Pozzato had been left behind.

"In the end, it all turned out well The peloton split and I don't know who got left behind. I felt good physically and I give it a thumbs up," he concluded.

RESULTS: Contador in Stage 1, 21st (s.t. Chicchi). Contador in GC, 22nd (0:10 Chicchi).


All text © 2007-2008 Rebecca Bell, contadorfans@hotmail.com.
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