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Wednesday, July 11, 2007
4. A Day in the Life
by Rebecca Bell

The satisfaction I get from cycling
you cannot get from any other type of work.

Tour de France fans crave a sumptuous feast for the senses. Our daily table is exquisite, a beguiling bounty of color, pastoral views, ample commentary, and the TV thrill of the chase.

Not so for the guys in the peloton. Their routine is based on one thing: good old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone hard work.

Early in July, Alberto told Entre Pinto y Valdemoro what it’s like to be a cyclist, behind the scenes.

“The life of a cyclist is more or less a routine. When you’re in the heat of a competition, you get up very early, you eat a big breakfast of cereal, toast, pasta, three hours before the departure of the stage. Then you go with the team bus to the departure point and compete.

Upon the finish of the stage, you shower in the bus, and eat carbohydrates to recover properly. From there you’re taken to the hotel.  Then you have a massage before dinner which is served between 8 and 8:30 PM - the European meal hours take precedence over the Spanish-  and then, from the room, you call your family and friends to remain in contact, and then you go to sleep.

Every hour of sleep is important. Try to imagine that in a Tour de France or a Vuelta a España, if you go to sleep one hour before another rider, at the end of the tour you have rested one day more.  When you have such a demanding level of competition, any moment of rest is important.
Back home, depending on the period of the season, you allow yourself more or less liberty. Before a Tour de France you  have to be careful with everything.   From the moment you get up in the morning you must select your food.  Fortunately, I do not have problems with my weight, as do other riders.   

You go for training, sometimes for many hours, other times for less. There are days when you must train for 200 kilometers and others for 60 kilometers, almost a rest!  But it’s quite okay.
The days you train less, you have to be careful with what you eat in order not to put on weight, but the days you train more you must eat a lot.  Also, I think having a nap is very important.  Some riders don’t like it.  But the more rest the better, and I like to take a nap.
In the afternoon I go out with friends or with my girl friend. This is a kind of life you get accustomed to. Perhaps some people think it’s impossible not to go to parties, but my life is different and I really like it this way.  The satisfaction I get from cycling you cannot get from any other type of work.”

(Translation by Christine Kahane.)

Alberto Contador
Alberto at Compiègne, Stage 3, July 10
Copyright © 2007 Christine Kahane

Race Report, Stage 4
Villers-Cotterêts – Joigny, 193 km

Alberto Contador finished Stage 4 today without any problems. The stage was not exactly easy.

“It’s been a complicated enough day, because it was windy from the start, and there was even a moment, at kilometer 70, when the peloton was split.”

A crash near the back of the pack caused the split. Discovery Channel had to scramble to make it up, but all eight riders finished with the same time as winner Thor Hushovd.

Alberto’s results today

Stage 4        77th     4:37:47  s.t.
Young rider    15th

GC        19th    0:55
Young rider    5th    0:10

Translations by Christine Kahane

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