The Tour de France was easy. Where are you going, Alberto? Straight up. The Pyrenees, the Alps. Now, post tour, the question of where Alberto is headed is a lot more complicated.
Instead of going team by team, TS proposes starting with the rider himself. A man who’s won the last 4 grand tours he’s ridden. What does the man from Pinto require?
Contador is a young Spanish rider of 26 who– surprise– prefers to speak Spanish. Winning a grand tour is hard enough without a language barrier. Clearly unhappy with the English slant of team Astana, El Pistelero wants a team where he doesn’t need a translator. Contador is not buying a Spanish-Belgian dictionary to stick in his jersey pocket. With two tours in the bag, people learn your language, not the other way around. Done with that.
Please, no Texans.
Contador does not want a replay of the Armstrong situation. He doesn’t want to see any Texas flags anymore, or drunk lunatics running along side him with longhorns mounted on football helmets. He doesn’t want to see American flags. He doesn’t want to take questions from anyone who wasn’t born in Spain. The Garmin rumors? Amusing but misguided. A team with two riders in the top 10 and a hard core anti-drug stance is not taking on a rider who refused a DNA test when questioned in the Operacion Puerto investigation. Not in a 100 years.
My team, not our team.
The year of sharing is over and it was an experience Alberto never wants to relive. Two kids in the sand box fighting over the firetruck. It was ugly and that’s history. Before he signs a contract, there will be a guarantee that everyone has one loyalty: to him. He’s not sharing with Wiggins, Valverde, Vinokourov, Evans, Menchov or anybody else. Why should he? Sure, he doesn’t tweet as well as Armstrong but he’s 10 years younger.
Astana is not the Answer.
Why would he ride for a team that was just gutted? The best riders are following Bruyneel and Armstrong to Radio Shack. And this is a team that couldn’t even pay riders during the tour of Italy. Sure, they’re offering a huge wad of cash but is that money real? Sounds like Kazak monopoly money. Two bottles of cheap vodka say this will never happen. Again, Alberto wants stability. Besides, if he hated Armstrong, he’ll double-triple hate Vinokourov even worse when he comes back and wants top billing. An unqualified disaster.
No start-ups, please.
This is not a start-up situation. The man has nothing to prove. So a year or two building a squad is a waste of time. Dominance doesn’t take a step backward. So no team Sky. Besides the fact a new team could never at this late date bring in the riders he needs to win a three week tour. Clownish scenarios involving a rich Spanish formula one driver with bathtubs of cash to front a new team are just that — clownish.
So where is Alberto Contador headed? The one place he was always headed, folks: the Spanish powerhouse Caisse d’Epargne. A team stocked with strong riders, a good sized budget, a solid infrastructure and loads of Spanish riders who don’t need translation help for the phrase “you’re riding for Alberto.”
Yeah they’ll find need to find an additional sponsor plus another year of financial support. Not that hard to scrounge up for a talent as big as Contadors’. Star rider Alejandro Valverde has already said he’ll ride of Contador — and that’s if Valverde avoids the serious possibility of a 2 year drug ban. If he’s gone, all the better. It’s a done deal, amigos.
Quickstep, Rabobank, Garmin, Team Sky? Jesus, you must be joking. May Cadel Evans’ dog Molly soil your carpet if you think otherwise.