The one armed man strike again.
You have to hand it to the man: Either Alberto Contador has the largest pain threshold known to man or the strongest mental powers or he’s the most amazing sand-bagger of all time or …
Maybe he’s all three things at the same time.
The Spaniard, coming off his twice dislocated shoulder, and riding in an injury modified aero position, crushed his rivals in the stage 14 time trial. He’s back in pink and realistically, only Astana’s Fabio Aru has a shot at stopping him from winning the whole ball of wax and then heading to France to deal with skinny Chris Froome.
In other words, One Sky down, one Sky to go.
While various injuries, bruises and general crash-related soreness has held back Richie Porte (who dropped another four minutes) and Rigoberto Uran (who dropped another two and a half minutes) the Spaniard put in a fantastic ride, taking third on the day to winner Vasil Kiryienka of Team Sky.
El Pistolero has only one good arm to fire his six shooters but that seems more than enough. His rival Aru wasn’t too happy with his own performance (now 2:28 down on the Master) but hopes to be pure dynamite in the Dolomites. Given what the Italian accomplished against Contador in the mountains over the first two weeks, this seems optimistic at best.
Contador played the usual race ain’t over until it’s over music but he while he tried to say Aru was still in the game, it sure feels over. “For sure Aru can still be a contender. I’ve ridden many Grand Tours and for many days as a race leader, and I know that you don’t suddenly lose your form or good legs,” said Contador. “Fabio didn’t have a good day today, but he might have a great one tomorrow at Madonna di Campiglio.”
Aru is hoping for some epic collapse from Contador in the final week. You have to appreciate his youthful naïveté and hope. “Tomorrow, there’s Madonna di Campiglio. On Tuesday, there’s the Mortirolo. On Friday, there’s Cervinia. On Saturday, there’s Sestriere,” said Aru. “There are still important mountain stages to come. A lot of hard stages. The last week is a hard final week.”
There’s a boys and men contrast at work here. No question that Aru is a monster talent with a grand tour win in his future but he’s trying to mount a comeback against the most battle-hardened stage racer of the post Armstrong era. So, Fabs, good luck with that.
Yeah, there is a week left in the Giro d’Italia. However, the one armed man is the strongest man in the race.