The Spaniard, who is to retire after the Vuelta, is one of six humen to have won all three grand tours but he departs as an personification of the doubts that still underpin cycling
Alberto Contadors proclamation on Monday morning that he will hang up his wheels at the end of the Vuelta a Espaa astonished merely for its timing. The is the issue of when and how to quit cycling has been hanging in the air over the Spaniard for almost two years; he speculated he might objective his career in 2016 but an unhappy spell riding for Tinkoff inspired him to hang on for another season.
Contador then speculated he might continue into 2018, before posting an Instagram video on Monday morning in which the 34 -year-old stated the Vuelta would be my last professional race. I say that with elation, without the slightest sadness. Its a decision that I come to after matured reflection and I dont think there can be a better way to say goodbye than at a race in your own country.
He retires as one of six riders to have won all three grand tours. He was also the youngest and the quickest to achieve the accomplishment, managing it before the age of 25 and in only 15 months. He remains the most successful grand tour rider of his generation, with two victories each in the Giro and Tour, and three in the Vuelta. Bernard Hinault is the only other man to win each more than once.
Much of the earlier part of his career was mired in disagreement and he departs as an personification of the contradictions and doubts that have underpinned his sport in the post-Lance Armstrong era, as it is universally hoped cycling attempts to leave the years of industrial-scale doping behind.
In February 2012, Contador was banned for two years at the end of a 585 -day battle to clear his name after tracings of the banned steroid clenbuterol were found in his urine. He never disputed the finding but claimed the substance must have been contained in contaminated beef( the Basque governments submission in the case indicated it was probably solomillo veal and that the animal would have weighed 290 kg ).
It was never established whether Contador had doped a theory that the clenbuterol might have entered his system via a contaminated blood suitcase was never demonstrate and the court of arbitration for sport concluded the narcotic most probably had been ingested through a polluted food supplement. What mattered was the principle of strict liability: for anti-doping to work, the athlete has ultimately to be held responsible for what is in his or her system whether or not doping is proven.
It was hard to avoid the sense Contador was also paying the price morally at least for his links to two of cyclings most notorious doping directeurs sportifs : Manolo Saiz, with whom he turned professional in 2003, and Johan Bruyneel, who picked him up when Saizs Liberty Seguros team ran bust in the wake of the 2006 Operation Puerto blood doping scandal, in which Contador was initially implicated but ultimately cleared.
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