|13. Tour 2006: A Personal Account
When his team was excluded from competition at last year’s Tour de
France, Contador’s hopes were dashed. Here, he tells about the bewildering
and painful episode.
”It was a difficult time. I remember that when they arrested Manolo
Saiz, I couldn’t imagine the after-effects and consequences it would have.
I didn’t think it was important because I never thought my name would be
related with this doctor (Fuentes), a man I never even saw or spoke to
in my whole life. I never thought it could have the least repercussions
for me. The days prior to the departure of the Tour de France, a series
of rumors and lists of riders started to appear, and on the eve of the
prologue I was told that my name was on those lists.
“Although I denied it, I was told there was a possibility I could be
prevented from taking part in the Tour de France. It seemed incredible.
I had sacrificed a lot of things to arrive in the best condition, and
I was told I was pushed aside because of something that was beyond my
understanding. In the end I had no alternative but to return home.
“These were difficult moments, not only for me, but also for my family
and the people who follow me. That weekend my parents had gone to Paris
to see the prologue while, instead, I was returning home.
“I had some bad days, but it soon came out that my involvement with
this doctor was nil. He admitted that he didn’t know me, and within ten
days the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) stated that I could return to
competition. But it was too late for the Tour, and the injustice had already
“This, like the accident, caused me to mature. All this is beyond one’s
control, and the innocence of every rider is questionable. Nowadays it’s
not necessary for a person’s anti-doping test results to be positive for
him to be sent home. There are no fixed ethical criteria anymore. Everyone
interprets them in his own way. Because of that I was forbidden to compete
“Thank God the teams knew all about my situation. I got many offers,
and could choose the one I thought was the most interesting.”
Tomorrow, Alberto relates some thoughts about the consequences of Operación
2006 Tour de Suisse
Less than three weeks later, Contador would learn his
team would not be able to race in the Tour de France.
Copyright © Christine Grein
|Race Report, Stage 13
“It’s been a pretty good day, but the third week of the
At the end of the Albi time trial today, Alberto Contador found himself
in third place in the GC, with only Rasmussen and Evans in front of him.
“If you take a close look, it’s been a pretty good day in regards to the
other important riders. Only Rasmussen surprised me with the great time trial
Contador had confidence in his chances before the start. “I knew that
if I had a good day I could be in this situation, because my goal was to
lose no more than 1:30 on the best of the GC, and I met that goal. On the
other hand, there were others that lost a lot of time. I was surprised by
Valverde, who was good in the Dauphiné TT, and also by Sastre.”
Contador didn’t feel handicapped by the rain, but still chose to play
it safe. “I knew I couldn’t take risks, and I got through it. In spite of
that, I had two scary moments. But I chose to lose a few seconds rather
than risk falling down. I didn’t like the rain because of the risk, but physically
it was almost good for me. Today I was concentrating really well, and the
rain never worried me.”
Alberto’s forecast for the Pyrenees? “I want to continue just as I’ve
done so far. Today I’ve gotten through an important and positive stage for
me, but the third week remains, and the very difficult Pyrenees. I hope
that tomorrow I don’t pay the bill for today’s efforts, and can be with the
best in the last climb.”
As of now, he’ll gauge his efforts against the performances of Cadel
Evans and Andreas Klöden. “They’re the most imposing of the favorites,
although now others will attack from the far flanks, like Astana and others.
But for me, those two are the wheels to monitor. Rasmussen is very strong,
too, but I think if I gain a little on him, it’s possible to take him in
the last time trial.”