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Thursday, July 19, 2007
11. Adelaide
by Rebecca Bell

“The victory in the Tour Down Under will always remain the best souvenir of my life”

The time is Saturday, January 22, 2005. The place, Willunga, near Adelaide. A nervous circuit stage of the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under is being animated by a mix of Aussies and Spaniards. The air crackles with the kinetic energy of argy-bargy.

Suddenly an audacious escape is launched by the yellow jersey, Liberty’s Luis León Sanchez, and teammate Alberto Contador. The pair advance, cashing in on the efforts of their mates in the front group, Allan Davis, Javier Ramirez, and Carlos Barredo.

15 km to go…10…5… The young Spaniards have 30 seconds on the chasers. Excitement builds. 3 km…2…1... Contador zips up, crosses the line, followed by Sanchez.

Alberto Contador wins Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under! Salud!

From hospital bed to victory in eight months... Miracles happen, wrought by neurosurgeons, dreamers, and the hand of God.

When Alberto is asked to name his best day ever on the bike, he replies “The best is, without a doubt, when I won the stage in the Tour Down Under. I remember that in the final straight I raced like mad because I was in a hurry to get to the arrival point in order to call my parents and my girlfriend and tell them.”

“The victory in the Tour Down Under will always remain the best souvenir of my life. I progressed from a one-month stay in the hospital, not even knowing if I would be able to live a normal life, to a stage win in my first race.”

And his worst day? “I don't know. Of course, it was not the accident, because on the contrary, that experience made me stronger and gave me a better idea of the value af things."

A poetic Allan Davis, Australian master of the bon mots, expressed Liberty Seguros’s joy on the day. “Yeah, Manolo Saíz is not here, but Marino Lejarreta is and he’s really happy. Manolo...he’ll be happy as a pig in shit!”

Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, January 22, 2005
Stage 5, Willunga – Willunga

1. Alberto Contador, Liberty Seguros
2. Luis León Sanchez, Liberty Seguros
3. Allan Davis, Liberty Seguros
4. Javier Ramirez Abeja, Liberty Seguros

Alberto Contador
Alberto Contador
2005 Deutschland Tour
Copyright © Christine Grein

Race Report, Stage 11
Marseille - Montpellier, 182.5km

Alberto hung with the favorites in today's race into Marseille. Both Mother Nature and the peloton put on the heat as high temperatures, wind, and power riding at rapid tempos defined the day.

South African Robbie Hunter took the sprint win. In doing so, he became the first citizen of Africa to win a stage at the Tour de France.

Contador clocked in with Hunter's time. He looks fantastic in the white young rider jersey!

Alberto's Results

Stage 11          29th s.t.
Young rider       8th  s.t.

GC                5th     3:08
Young rider       1st

Alberto had a few reflections on Stage 9 over the Galibier.

"We pushed really hard today. Popovych, my teammate worked very hard for me. In the end the group caught up, but all in all it was a good day for us"

In reference to the stiff headwind and the puncture that handicapped him on the slopes, he said "The conditions weren't ideal. I managed to save time instead of gaining time and obviously there's still a long way to go."

Contador has never voiced any aspirations for the maillot jaune this year, but still, people will ask. "I don't want to think about the maillot jaune, because I don't want to be disappointed...I just want to focus on the white jersey, because I came here to get experience. It's a shame I haven't been able to beat the favorites, but there's still a week left."

Translations by Christine Kahane

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Alberto Contador banner design: Nicky Orr   Banner photo: Christine Kahane

Alberto Contador wallpaper
Alberto Contador Wallpaper

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