Nibali and Contador. Better allies than enemies.
New buddy picture in pro cycling: Vince & Alberto, coming to a major stage race near you.
Vince is an fiery Italian who gets passionate and shoots his mouth off. Barely able to control his anger and frustration, Vince is the hot-head ready to boil over.
Meanwhile his pal Alberto is Spanish and good with a pistol in the mountains. A cool character, planning the precise moment of the kill. Sure, he also often goes on instinct but he keeps his plans to himself.
Sometimes Vince and Alberto form a smooth and beneficial partnership and sometimes not. Today in Tirreno-Adriatico, they just didn’t see eye to eye. Both of them were slapped down by the relentless force of a well-drilled Team Sky, then kicked hard in the finish by stage winner Chris Froome.
Afterwords, Vince couldn’t contain his disappoint over Alberto letting him down. “When Froome went, I waited for Contador to go after him but he didn’t have having the legs, I said, ‘C’mon, do a bit’ but he just stayed on my wheel. It’s a pity because we could have fought out for the win and stopped Froome from getting back up to us.”
Nibali got the full treatment from the Sky machine in last year’s Tour de France. Contador is just getting his first taste of their dominance in stage races beginning with the Tour of Oman (won by Froome) and now Tirreno-Adriatico. It ain’t that much fun.
By the time the 2013 edition of Le Grand Shindig rolls around, the Vince & Alberto show may be in trouble, with both stars at each others’ throats — “You didn’t help me in the Pyrenees” and “Oh yeah, well, you didn’t give me a hand in the Alps” with a few obscenities throw in for color.
Things could get ugly and only Sky boss David Brailsford will get a few laughs from the finger-pointing. Given the serious team strength of Sky, Vince & Alberto better develope a close, working relationship before July and the grand depart in Corsica.
Now, Contador will have his Spanish buddies Samuel Sanchez and Joaquin Rodriguez but it may not be enough. Nibali made the podium in Paris last year and if Alberto has hopes of ganging up on skinny little Chris Froome — who might even have Bradley Wiggins for back-up — he and Vince better kiss and make up.
After all, Andy Schleck sure isn’t going to be much help.