Alberto Contador

D.O.B.: 6/12/82

Hometown:Pinto, Spain

Height:177cm

Weight;62kg

Contador More Than a Bike Racer

Alberto Contador (Astana) lines up this weekend at the 68th Paris-Nice in his second race of the 2010 season, and his second with Specialized. Just weeks after winning at his season debut at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, the defending Tour de France champion looks to keep the ball rolling at the “Race to the Sun.”

While Contador remains intensely focused on preparing for his major goal of the season to defend his Tour crown, there’s more to the Spanish climber than meets the eye. Known for his lethal attacks and intensity, Contador is quite a different man off the bike.

Away from the pressure cooker of racing, the 27-year-old is quite the family man. He describes himself as a “friend of friends” and would rather go hiking or go to the movies with friends. His personal motto is “querer es poder,” which loosely translates to, “where there’s a will, there’s way.”

Here is Contador—in his own words—on his passions in life beyond the bike:

Home: “I live in El Pinto, a small community south of Madrid. My mother works for the local government, and my father retired a while ago to take care of my disabled brother. I am the third of four siblings.”

Personality: “I am a friend of my friends, of my family, of my fans. I am proud that I have still same friends of all my life, those that support me and accept me for who I am.”

On life away from racing: “I like to spend time with my family and friends, go see a movie, have dinner out with friends, visit my parents. I like to relax as much as possible because the season is crazy and you’re always on the move once the racing starts.”

Hobbies: “I used to have canaries, but I don’t have time to care for them anymore. I like to hunt, but I do better on my bike. I don’t have good aim! I hunt for small game; rabbits, hairs, quail, things like that.”

Passions: “I really love cars and auto racing. I have deep respect for the pilots and their abilities to control the cars at these speeds. I had a chance to go to a racetrack and drive on the course. That was really something. I have also been to watch some Formula 1 racing and have gotten to know (two-time world champion) Fernando Alonso. Although we’ve spoken about trying to get a project off the ground to sponsor a team, right now he’s pretty busy (laughs, alluding to Alonso’s move to the Ferrari racing team).”

First experiences on the bike: “I really didn’t like cycling at first. To me, it was just another sport. I was playing soccer and running cross-country. I started to ride with my older brother, Fran, and his friends, who used to race amateur. They would drop me on the climbs, and I didn’t like that very much. By the fourth ride with them, I was dropping them.”

On overcoming brain surgery for cerebral cavernoma in 2004: “That marked a turning point in my life. I was always ambitious when it came to my sporting career, but now I pay much more attention to the smaller details of life. That’s why my friends and family are so important to me. When you’re flat on your back in a hospital bed, bike racing seems like far away and all you want is to be able to return to a normal life. When I finally was able to return to cycling, I felt privileged.”

On winning the Tour de France: “I always dreamed about the Tour. As an amateur, I was already thinking about it, but I never told anyone, because they would have said I was living in the clouds. It’s one thing to win a race like Paris-Nice. It’s important in the world of cycling, but beyond that, only the Tour de France reaches the mainstream. When I won the Tour and had a hero’s welcome in my hometown, that gave me goose-bumps.”

On becoming famous: “My friends and my fiancé keep me in my place! My family and friends help remind me that I am the same person that I was before I started to win bicycle races. I also remember the days when my mom would sew together pieces of clothes so I could have a proper outfit when I went to races as a junior.”

Life without cycling: “I think if I wasn’t a professional bike racer, I would probably have worked in veterinary. I really love animals and I think that’s probably where I would have focused my studies if I hadn’t become so successful racing the bike.”

On retirement: “I haven’t planned anything specific, but I cannot imagine that I would still be doing this in 10 years’ time.”

On working with Specialized: “There have been a lot of changes on the team and one of them is the thing you use most, the bike. I am very content with Specialized, because I have felt very comfortable from the very first moment. The bike meets all my requirements, it’s rigid, it’s light, and most important, they are open to all kinds of suggestions, which is very important, because to win sometimes depends a lot of times on small details.”

Desires for 2010: “I don’t want to ask for anything big this season, except, above all, my health in private life and my sporting life. The only thing that I ask is that there isn’t some sort of accident or anything that can hamper my season, that I can train with tranquility and not have any sort of setback in my preparation. Everything else will unfold as it does.”

I am very excited about this project.

August 5, 2010

Almost two weeks after the end of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador provides some thoughts on the Tour de France, moving to a new team, and future goals.

Q: How do you feel about riding with Bjarne Riis' team in 2011?

A: I’m very excited. I think it was the best choice, because I come to a team with a definite philosophy, a good way to work, and that gives me the tranquility that I have not had in recent years. I am happy and eager to begin this project.

Q: What did Riis say to you, what convinced you to join his team?

A: Several things, but no doubt the seriousness he requires and his philosophy of work have been primary reasons. That will allow me to be more relaxed. Also, his great experience, he is always at the head of teams with the best riders and very powerful, allowing you to face all objectives.

Q: What are your goals for the next two seasons?

A: It is still too early to know the calendar, but I have in mind to do two big tours next year. I do not know exactly which, but I have to start changing a little bit the training system and perhaps start the year more relaxed.

Q: Riis said that you want to win the big three in one year, what about it?

A: Of course it's a dream, but I don’t know if it's possible. I think I you can ride the big three at a good level, but from there to win them there is much different. You have to go little by little. I realize that it is practically impossible, though perhaps in the future...it's a dream. Everyone has dreams, and this is mine.

Q: Riis and Andy Schleck have been your toughest rivals the last two years. Is there a benefit to riding with Andy's former director?

A: We have already discussed this. Now that we will be working together, I can share my perspective on the last two Tours, and he can share his. It will be a good partnership.

Q: How do you see the team next year?

A: I see it with great optimism. The base is a very solid team, riders have an incredible quality and I really want to start with great concentration. We will get on perfectly. For my part, I will try to incorporate Benjamin Noval, Dani Navarro and Jesus Hernandez, but I also hope that the team is strengthened with new signings.

Q: How do you approach the last part of the season with Astana?

A: We have to speak about that, but I am very clear that I am still an Astana rider, and I owe this team. My season is already more than accomplished, but we still have to think about it, besides attending various commitments with sponsors, because our relationship is still perfect and I'm very grateful to Astana, although the best decision was to move.

The balance of the race is very good.

July 12, 2010

Alberto Contador held a press conference on the first rest day of the Tour de France, where he summed up by saying, “The balance of the race is very good, and I am very happy with the situation in the overall standings, after passing the first week with the dangers of pavé and the possibility of (cross)wind.”

Alberto took a few questions from the assembled crowd:

What lessons do you extract from what happened yesterday in the final kilometer?

“No one can have many conclusions because it was a very soft climb, and the last kilometers were almost flat. I went with four attacks, and perhaps the conclusion is that I have to select the rivals that I must follow. On the other hand, the team is in very good condition, and my legs are fine."

Are you not afraid that Andy Schleck has taken morale, and that he and others will attack more?

"The attacks come anyway, and maybe this is pretty good, because people can take more responsibility for the race and this will give them more motivation."

Did Armstrong’s disadvantage maybe motivate you too much to respond all attacks?

"Not at all. We saw that Armstrong was behind, and while that was good for our race, we must also take into account that he had very bad luck. No, that did not affect me at all."

How do you explain the success of Spanish sport in the world?

"It's a bit hard to explain, but it depends a bit on the culture, and sport is the leading global representation of a country. In Spain, the athletes are highly valued and therefore reach success in basketball, motorcycles, F1, cycling and football."

Does the collapse of Armstrong change strategies in the race?

"RadioShack maybe will have a little less presence, but the team will continue to be well represented, although their main rider is now Leipheimer."

What do you expect on tomorrow stage with la Madeleine and the final descent?

This is a very complicated and very hard stage. Perhapsla Madeleine does not have the prominence of a summit finish, but before the top of the final col, we will have climbed more than 4,000 meters. Together with the difficulty of the first week, it may give many surprises."

What are your feelings about Armstrong after seeing how he suffered?

"It's a complicated situation, never seen him like that, and yesterday when I saw the stage on the hotel TV, I thought of all he has done and all he has achieved. Yesterday, he did not have his best day, and of course I hate to see such a situation. I've always had admiration for him, and now I have even more."

What do you think about what Andy Schleck said that after what happened yesterday, he has more confidence in his chances?

"After yesterday's stage, I still think the same as before. He (Andy) is one of the favorites, and was the most difficult rival in the mountains last year, and it seems that this year will be the same. But, there still remains a lot of Tour, and I do not give so much importance to Sunday's stage."

Did you say that you must choose the riders to follow, who are they?

"There are many who are near in the overall, but in this sense the most direct rival is Schleck, although there are others like Evans, Leipheimer and Menchov, who are very good in time trials, and I can not let them to take time."

Your future is with Astana?

"My brother is in charge of these issues and is now in talks with the bosses of the team. I can not say exactly how things are, but most likely I’ll continue with Astana."

Sastre said today that this Tour will be a question of survival due to heat conditions. You are an aggressive rider, are you ready for a survival Tour?

"Heat always limits you, but the Tour always ends up being a survival. The tactics will depend upon the situation in the GC. Before, I had to attack, but now I have a good situation, and we must calculate our efforts."

Yesterday we saw that you had more teammates (in the latter part of the stage) than others, are you going tomorrow to continue with that tactic to send them to work?

"We will see how things are going, because there are other teams that have to take more responsibility. I have the good luck to be surrounded by great riders and friends as well, which gives me more tranquility, but every day wew will see if we need to make the race more or less hard."

Translated from original Spanish, please forgive any inaccuracies.

I did what I would have liked to do with me

July 5, 2010

Alberto Contador was one of the many riders who today suffered a fall in the col of Stockeu on a road that had turned into a skating rink due to rain and, apparently, the loss of fuel of a motorcycle which had fallen minutes before the riders pass. "It was a real crazy”, said Contador after leaving the Doping Control, which also had to pass before begin to heal its wounds.

Alberto was not the only Astana rider to fall, as only Dani Navarro and Benjamin Noval managed to avoid it. Alexandre Vinokourov, but without any significant blow, fell just behind Contador, while Tiralongo, he explained, he hit his right knee with the Armstrong’s bike, who was also involved in the accident.

Contador has suffered a blow and abradiond on the right hip, knee and elbow, but the first impression of the team doctors, and also the rider is that tomorrow he will start  without further complications. "Let's be optimistic and think that we have lifted the fall," said Alberto.

"On this road it was impossible not to fall. I fell on a straight part at about 60 km/h and when I thought about what it could have happened, I saw that at every turn there were people on the ground, it was impossible to go without falling”, continued explaining Contador.

For him, the worst thing is to think that tomorrow will be the stage of the pavé, a particularly hard day and more after that. "It's the worst day because tomorrow is a tough day in coblestones, they hits you all over, but I want to be optimistic. We will try to recover and get ice soon”.

Alberto confirmed that he was one who decided to stop to wait for Andy Schleck, one of the hardest hit on the fall. “As soon as I've heard that Andy was behind I order to stop all my team mates. As I wished to do with me, I had to do with him".

Despite there was a moment of doubt and disagreement, "with some teams who wanted to go ahead in spite of everything, because there were many dangerous riders in front too, at the end they have acted with logic and have decided to stop in front too”.

I'm happy with the result

July 3, 2010

Alberto Contador opened today his participation in the Tour de France with a sixth place that gives him the first few seconds over the majority of the overall candidates. The leader of Astana finished satisfied the first 2010 Tour time trial. “I'm happy with the result”, he summarized.

After a first analysis of the classification, Alberto said he had been “ahead of virtually all the favorites and I have scratched a few seconds. It is true that I failed to catch the rhythm that I like, but I’m happy with the prologue”.

Regarding the differences collected, he preferred to wait for a calmer analysis, although he advanced that “the distance was so short but there have been people who have left so much time”, referring to the result of some rivals.

About the course, he said it had been “very difficult because I could not risk more than worthwhile. It is better to lose a few seconds to risk a fall”.

Finally, Contador did not care at the time won by Armstrong. “These results do not change the race. The differences are minor and do not have to give them so much importance”, he said.

Alberto Contador also made a positive analysis of the improvements that used today, especially the new Giro helmet and Specialized time trialbike , which include the latest improvements on the handlebar.

Contador Passes on Spanish TT Championships

June 21, 2010

Alberto Contador has decided not to defend his title as the Spanish time trial champion due to a case of the flu that began last Saturday.

"It's a pity, but I'm not able to attend the Spanish Championship because I'm having a little flu. I had wanted to defend the jersey, but unfortunately I am not in good condition and against this I can not do anything," Alberto Contador said today from training in the Sierra de Madrid, where he is working on his Tour de France preparation despite the setback.

Contador, with his team mates Paolo Tiralongo, Dani Navarro, David de la Fuente, Jesús Hernández, Benjamin Noval and Oscar Pereiro (the last to join the group, coming from the Tour of Switzerland), is doing an stage in Madrid which will run along this week as the final phase of his training for the Tour de France. During these days, Astana team directors also will decide the final roster for the French Tour.

 

We've seen the stages that will decide the Tour

June 1, 2010

Alberto Contador finished today the recognition of four Pyrenean stages of the Tour 2010, where he spent four days training in the company of seven teammates: Fofonov, Tiralongo, Noval, Navarro, De la Fuente, Hernandez and Pereiro, all included in the Tour pre-selection.

After this stage, Contador plans to ride the Dauphiné Libéré and then recognizing the two Alpine stages of the Tour. A little less than a month before starting on the French race, the leader of Astana is confident and satisfied with his preparation, but he has not reached his best level yet. “Feelings are good, but still they are not the same of the Tour”, he says.

Contador has been studied in detail the stages of the Pyrenees and has his conclusions. “These four days in the Pyrenees have been hard, because we've seen the stages that will decide the Tour. All offer many possibilities. The fist one has the final at Ax 3 Domaines climb after a demanding climb, Palhieres;  the next day we will have other very hard climb at the end, Bales, with the finish line after 20 kilometers of descent. On the third day they appear legendary climbs like Tourmalet and L'Aubisque, where can crack a lot of people but the goal is far away. And last day is the main course with the finish on Tourmalet top, the last chance of victory for the climbers, but probably the overall will be almost clarified”.

Contador meet on Monday with the Schleck brothers on top of the Tourmalet, where he arrived after Aspin climb. After a warm greeting, the Saxo Bank leaders, who came from the opposite side, after scaling the Soulor, told Alberto that L'Aubisque was closed to traffic and, jokingly, were cited in this same place for next July.

Before go to Alps stages, Contador confirms that in the 2010 Tour “Pyrenees will be the judges of the race and, of course, this tour is harder than that of 2009”. He, meanwhile, is already facing the last phase of preparation, which has had no setbacks. “I'm doing the preparation as I wanted”, he says. “After a serious stop after the Classics (about 10 days without bike) was hard to start again, but everything goes as planned. I’ll do the Dauphiné without pressure, seeking the set-up, because the preparation is perfect”, he said. Like his sensations on the the bike. “They are good, yes, but not yet like those of the Tour, because there are still three and a half weeks before the start and this is not a good time, it is still time of allergies, and that limits me a little”, concludes Alberto Contador.

 

 

(Automatic translation. Forgive inaccuracies).

In the Wind Tunnel

May 20, 2010

Alberto Contador held on Wednesday 19 May a workshop on the modern wind tunnel Epsilon Euskadi, situated in Parque Tecnológico de Álava and considered among the best in the world.

Contador did this test session, which lasted for more than four hours, with the aim of evaluating the performance of new materials as well as aerodynamic improvements could be introduced during the time trial in relation to his position on the bike. “I'm happy with my results, but trying to improve is always important, we have to work as much as possible in this way,” says Alberto. “It's been a long day and you feel cold during the tests, but it's worth the effort.”

Contador - I Will Continue Paris-Nice

March 9, 2010

Alberto Contador managed to finish today's especially difficult stage, overcoming the consequences of yesterday's crash that caused extensive bruises to his left leg. After the 200 miles of racing between Contres and Limoges, the outlook is better and the danger of having to abandon seems to have passed.

Alberto shares his insights from the Astana hotel:

“The day has been more or less as expected. I knew it would be a difficult day, but as I warmed up, I was better able to pedal. Still, I couldn't pedal my normal rhythm. I survived a long day, and now I have to work with the ‘masseur’ to see if in two or three days I can fully recover.

Continuing the race is assured. I will not go home, because today was the most important test. I've been able to finish, and I can still improve, so I’ll continue on the race. We are doing very high average speeds, and there is great tension throughout the entire stage. We must be alert at all times, so it's like a training session ahead of July's Tour.

The rider who I think is the strongest now is Jens Voigt. While many are going well, he is the one to whom I pay more attention."

Interview courtesy Team Astana and edited by Specialized.

Six and a half hours of training for Astana

January 18, 2010

The Astana team held today the hardest training of its stage in Calpe, after spending Sunday on a day of rest. Contador and his team mates made a six and a half hours session (210 km) along the rugged terrain of the interior of Alicante, which included several climbs like the well known Finestrat.

Under the watchful eye of Giuseppe Martinelli, that follow every day practice of their riders, Astana team did a tough program where Contador, with Tiralongo, Dani Navarro and Vinokourov proved to be a little above of the rest of team mates when the road was harder.

Tomorrow, Wednesday January 20th, is scheduled a Press Conference with Alberto Contador at 16:00 pm in the Diamante Beach Hotel (Avenida Juan Carlos I, Calpe), where also will be available to the media other team members. Photographers and television channels may wish to record the morning workout, which will begin at 10 am.

Stats for Alberto Contador are coming soon.