Alberto Contador is in a race against time. More precisely against hair loss.
The Spaniard admitted that the stress of his on-going doping investigation is causing his hair to fall out. The prospect of a long, drawn out legal battle has both Contador and his hair stylist concerned.
“He is young, he has plenty of hair but it’s the rate of loss that worries me,” said Carmen Rivera, owner of Mas Elegante, a salon in Pinto. “I am monitoring the situation. We have to wonder, is this temporary or something of greater concern.”
Every day that the four judges deliberate presents another loss for Contador. Legal experts on both sides of the clenbuterol case have no clear idea when the Spanish Cycling Federation will announce their ruling. For Contador, the fall-out could be catastrophic.
“Each time he comes in for a trim, we have less to work with. Alberto and I have spoken openly and I have shown him fashion magazine pictures of men with shaved heads. It upset him greatly,” said Rivera.
Hair or no hair, Contador has the full support of his new team manager Bjarne Riis. “Personally, I like the bald look. It signals intelligence, a quality I look for in my riders,” said Riis. “It would be an adjustment for him, certainly, but he is a champion and hair has no affect on power output.”
Nevertheless, the prospect of serious hair loss has the Spanish rider worried. According to one source, he has already sought out fellow countryman Alejandro Valverde. While Valverde lost his doping case in the Court for Arbitration in Sport and was banned for two years, he did win his battle with hair loss. The two apparently spent an afternoon discussing the use of hair retention products like Rogaine.
“Alberto has great respect for Alejandro, not only as a rider, but as a handsome, good-looking man,” said Contador’s press agent Jacinto Vidarte. “He has faced the same problems that Alberto is facing now. He gave him much hope.”
He will need all the hope he can get. With the UCI and WADA publicly announcing they will appeal any ruling they find unsatisfactory, the potential for a year long battle — and significant hair loss — is a highly possible.
“Alberto is scared, he told me as much. He has so much to lose and already it is going fast,” said his hair stylist Rivera. “He doesn’t want to end up looking like a dark skinned Michael Rasmussen.”