Monday, May 16, 2011

Contador: I Wish I Could Like The Guy

Alberto Contador is undoubtedly the best stage racer in cycling today, seemingly a class above the rest. His searing attacks on the final climbs of stages 8 and 9 of the Giro d'Italia have sent a clear message to the rest of the peloton. If they want to have a chance to win the Giro, they're going to have to find a way to get some serious time on Contador and they're going to have to be able to ride with him in the mountains to minimize the damage on the summit finishes that remain. Alberto has shown that so far nobody can hold his wheel in the mountains and the fact that he is also an excellent time trialist, perhaps as good as anybody in this race, does not bode well for the other contenders. AC will likely have to suffer an untimely flat or some Schleck-chain to lose the pink jersey. Unlike Lance Armstrong's formulaic approach to winning 7 Tours de France, Contador almost always races to win. He's exciting, he's impulsive, he's dynamic and opportunistic. He's everything that an international bike racing hero needs to be. I wish that I could root for him, but he just seems to be kind of a dick. As polarizing as Lance was/is, his leadership and charisma could not be overlooked. Contador doesn't seem to have too many friends. Perhaps if I spoke Spanish, Alberto might have more charm for me, but I just find it hard to warm up to him. I'm going to keep trying, because it looks like he'll dominate the sport for the next few years*.

*That is, if he doesn't face a 2-year doping ban starting next month, when the UCI/WADA appeals of the Spanish federation's findings in his clenbuteral case. Then, I won't have to try to like him for awhile.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with you despite the fact that - by all reports - Contador is actually a pretty humble and likeable guy in person. In comparison, Armstrong's personal charisma ends about ten feet away from him. Any closer - like actually speaking to him - and he's a total ass.

I think part of the reason you(we) find it hard to get on board with Contador is that he's on top right now and he seems to win too easily. Compare his style to someone like Cadel Evans who always seems to work hard for his victories.

Add in some of the "questionable" tactics like the apparent attack after Andy Schleck's dropped chain and the alleged drafting off of a motorcycle during the Annecy TT (Beating Cancellara? Really?) and it's easy to understand where that feeling comes from. I don't like him either, but g-d damn that kid can climb!

charlie said...

anonymous,
rewatch the video. contador was already attacking, or following vino's attack, when andy dropped his chain. i love (and hate) them all, but you gotta admit, they deserve the props for what they do.

fgadfly said...

Contador once JBar'd on his bike however, for serious medical reasons.