Teams & Riders Alberto Contador Discussion Thread

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Yeh, I put Conti's 2009 TdF win as his top performance. The Tour nearly always has the strongest fields that most sponsors, teams and riders target compared to the Giro and Vuelta which are generally at a lower level. Also remember at 2009 TdF Contador was riding against his own team then with Lance the man. Then to beat Cancellara in the Annecy TT was amazing.

2011 Giro was Contador's next best IMO. He played with them. But everything after his ban was less dominant. Then he relied less on pure power and more on tactical courage. The 2011 TdF was Contador's last grand tour before serving his ban. Even then he did some amazing stuff. Struggled in the Pyrenees with crash effects but attacked on stages 16, 17 and 19 to the Alpe and then rode an impressive stage 20 TT. Whatever you thought of Alberto you could never doubt his courage.

2007 TdF was Contador's 3rd most impressive in my books. Still only 24, it was the breakthrough that truly announced his freakish talent. Not sure what to make of his 2008 Giro win. I simply cannot believe any human being can be "sitting on a beach", unexpectedly get called up to ride a grand Tour then win it? A bit of hype and exaggeration there I'd say.

ps - glad this thread was bumped the entire forum has been asleep since the Vuelta and the lingering concern over the pandemic occupying everyone's mind.
 
Leipheimer crashed out before the mtns anyway. The top 4 prerace favorites wouldn’t have changed had everyone targeted the race. The biggest change was that Evans just flopped. Bertie, Andy, and Lance all finished (at least on the road in regards to Lance) in the Top 5. Wiggins surprised, but he was hardly a weak fluke. VDB confirmed it as well over the next few years.

You’re right about Basso, but he never really showed at the TdF after his ban. The only weak link in the Top 10 to me was LeMevel.
Leipheimer was 3rd out of the GC favorites after 1 ITT and 1 mountain range, but your description of crashing out before the mountains is a very good view of the awful 2009 route.

Just in terms of the optics without getting into details of the performances, if the previous year winner, one of the few multiple* GT winners active at that point and a rider who finished <1 minute behind in 2 GTs had all targeted the race from the start, the win would have been more remembered.

*I think the courts have not ruled in favor of Heras at that point
 
I've always enjoyed Alberto's rides, he was my favourite cyclist for a decade. I generally share your sentiment that TdF'09 and Giro'11 were his best performances. The latter was most dominant (he even gave victories on two occasions) but the former had stronger competition so it has to be #1. His record until Giro'11 was ridiculous: 6 GT victories in a row! It's also easy to notice that his post-ban level was generally lower but there was more drama. What I regret most is missed TdF'14 chance - Alberto was in great shape then (best in post ban period) and was ready to take on and beat Froome, NIbali and win another Tour (which is blatantly missing in the second part of his career). He got his chance to shine at Vuelta though and got revenge against Froome.
 
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I generally share your sentiment that TdF'09 and Giro'11 were his best performances. The latter was most dominant ........... It's also easy to notice that his post-ban level was generally lower but there was more drama
Totally agree on this part. Contador seemed to be more tactically daring post ban. In fact I think this subtle transformation seemed to begin in the 2011 TdF affected by crashes and/or Giro fatigue. Examples that edition were stages 16,17 and 19 to the Alpe followed up by 3rd (I think?) in the stage 20 TT showing he still had 3rd week strength. I was not a massive Contador fan but his efforts that TdF earned my respect and admiration. Inspirational to see a rider improvise on tactics when they know they may not be able to win on shear power alone.
 

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