“Want to know why I’ll miss Alberto most of all in the ever-growing attrition list of this year’s Tour de France? Forget the doping talk for a moment and humor me; we all know that everyone at the Grand Tour level is not without suspicion. Let’s just talk about cycling, with skepticism and disbelief suspended. The guy is pure class and grace, on and off the bike. Even when Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel did their best to work against his undeniable ascendancy in the 2009 Tour, he rode to victory in a manner both touching and awe-inspiring. He’s been a stylish and dogged competitor, having won all three Grand Tours at one point in his career; he’s yet to write a kiss-and-tell-all “memoir” uncomplimentary to his colleagues and the sport; he doesn’t have a strident significant other shrilly tweeting ad nauseam, just the love of his life whom he’s known since he was 17; and he doesn’t milk the sympathy card that was the brain aneurysm that nearly ended his career and his life.
Alberto Contador, your exit from the race has made La Grande Boucle that much less thrilling for me. Cumplidos en su desempeño valiente hoy.”
I was always divided about Contador. I don’t want to get too much into the past and doping offences (that’s for a much bigger post) but indeed I felt that this year’s Tour suffered a lot from the big names that withdrew so early. Of course we can always write about ‘what-ifs’, but at the end of the day I was kinda ‘meh’ towards the final stages. Seeing Contador recover so quickly to where he left off in July to perform so well at the Vuelta is good to see. Certain naysayers will chime in with the fact he’s back to form so quickly raises eyebrows and was obviously a tactical ploy by the team to double-bluff the severity of the injury. Fact is, a broken tibia is a broken tibia. So it’s one part deja-vu and one part a great shame we lose Quintana from the Vuelta. I’ll probably do a big old season recap for 2014 soon, but part of me thinks the best racing happened so early on in the season. Feels like 2014 has flown by in the blink of an eye.