Five questions for Contador

Monday, 28 June 2010

Contador is such a favourite for the Tour de France that many are just wondering who will come second and third. But a bad day, a puncture, a crash and everything could change

Indurain famously cracked in the 1996 Tour. More recently you could argue Cadel Evans would have won the last Vuelta and Giro were it not for misfortune.

So here are five questions for Contador, to help us look at what lies ahead for him?

  1. Contador: is he good enough? Yes he’s been exceptional in the past but this year he’s been slightly off the pace. Will he deliver? Will he stay upright on the cobbles?
  2. The Team: can Astana support Contador? They put on a strong showing in the Dauphiné but surviving a three week Tour is something else. Especially with Vinokourov, things might be hard to manage.
  3. Tactics: several teams have aces to play, Saxo for example can use the Schleck brothers, plus Fuglsang. That’s three riders to watch already. HTC-Columbia can use Rogers and Martin, RadioShack have Armstrong, Brajkovic, Klöden and Leipheimer. Although too often this multi-pronged approach has failed.
  4. Style: does he just want to win by a minute or two, or is there more to it? After last year’s rivalry with Armstrong will he want to crush the field or will he simply be content with a win by any margin?
  5. The Past: He’s ducked questions about Operacion Puerto in the past. Understandable but at times I struggle to wow at the best stage racer in the world because when pressed on what happened under Manolo Saiz he just replies “next question please”. It’d be nice if he had some response here.

I doubt Alberto will reply in the comments but feel free to offer your thoughts…

Alex Murray June 28, 2010 at 8:18 am

He beat Andy Schleck for about 4 mins last year didn't he? I think he'd be happy with half that this year. If he gets through the first week unscathed I think he'll be hard to beat.

The team isn't going to ride against him as much as last year, so I'd say it's stronger in that important sense. He only had Paulinho riding for him last year in and English speaking team, whereas this year it's a Spanish speaking team with only Vino to offer resistance.

The only way I can see multiple attacks working is if teams are willing to take the risk on attacking him and hoping other teams then counter against him. But then again the only riders he didn't drop last year were Frank and Andy and the former isn't selfish enough to do proper damage.

As for Puerto, if CONI had wanted then surely they could have identified him in the same way as Valverde. I suspect the note that is frequently used to attached AC to the case was little more than the menu being offered by Fuentes and it does read "nada" for AC or same as JJ which suggests it was optional for him.

TheInnerRing June 28, 2010 at 8:23 am

I'm happy to accept your conclusion on Puerto, I only wish Contador would do the same. Rather than duck the question he could say he didn't get involved or find a phrase to defuse the matter for good.

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