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Monday, July 9, 2007
2. Predictions
by Rebecca Bell

The cycling pundits have weighed in on the subject of Alberto Contador at this year’s Tour. Here’s what a few of them have said.

Phil Liggett:
“This year I think there’s much more chance of riders making a mistake, because some of the teams have got a couple of guys who could be potential winners if they get into the move. So if everybody’s watching for example, Vinokourov, and Andreas Kloden gets into a break he could win the Tour, because he can ride good time trials and he’s not a bad climber. And the same would apply for example to Discovery Channel, they’ve got a super young up and comer in Alberto Contador – and if they all watch Levi Leipheimer, and Contador slips into a move… that guy could become the winner of the Tour de France.” (PezCyclingNews, June 28, 2007)

Bernard Hinault:
 “They [Discovery Channel team] floundered in 2006, due to Armstrong’s absence, but we’ve already seen this year that they don’t need him or Ivan Basso in order to shine. We’ve known for a long time that Popovych, Rubiera, and Leipheimer are good riders. Now that they’re flanked by Alberto Contador, they have an additional trump card; he really made a big impression on me at Paris-Nice. If they take turns attacking, they’ll be able to give Astana a run for its money.” (VeloNews 2007 Official Guide to the Tour de France)

Alasdair Fotheringham:
Who’s going to win, and how? “What it’s going to take to win this year’s Tour is nerves of steel…The winner will be someone old and gnarly like Vinokourov or young and with nothing to lose like Contador.”

Who will be the surprise package of the race? “Alberto Contador. He’s in the perfect Tour de France team, has won Paris-Nice with great rides in the time trials and the mountain stages, is just 24 and (last but not least) has some unfinished business after he was prevented from starting last year?”

Fotheringham’s pick for the final podium: 1. Alexandre Vinokourov 2. Oscar Pereiro 3. Alberto Contador
(Cycle Sport America, July 2007)

Alberto Contador
Copyright © 2007 Christine Kahane

Race Report, Stage 2
Dunkirk – Gent, 168.5 km

Contador finished today’s stage by helping his teammate Tomas Vaitkus cross the finish line after a huge crash in the last three kilometers.

“It’s rotten luck. Vaitkus has broken his thumb in five places”, Alberto reported soon after reaching the team hotel.

Fortunately Contador escaped harm, on a day marked by danger from rain and crashes. “I didn’t fall, I just got a bit cut up, like the rest of the riders, no major injuries.”

He was also relieved that Benjamin Noval, who fell yesterday, had recovered without problems. “The work that Benjamin is doing to protect me in the pack is incredibly good.”

Due to the crash in the final kilometers, all riders received the same time as winner, Quickstep’s Gert Steegmans.


Stage 2        70th      3:48:22
Young rider    14th    

GC        18th     0.35
Young rider    5th    0.10

Translations by Christine Kahane

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