Alberto Contador snatched the stage win today, in a magnificent ride on the first day of high drama in the Pyrenees. In a thrilling sprint, he bested race leader Michael Rasmussen in Stage 14 of the Tour de France.
Now seated 2nd in the GC, Contador gained time on all his rivals today. He’s perched just 2.23 behind the Dane.
“Winning a stage of the Tour before the eyes of the whole world, on a weekend, in front of my fans and my family, who’ve supported me, it’s everything to me. For me, it’s as if the Tour was over, regardless of what the end result turns out to be. I would feel the same even if tomorrow I had a bad day.”
A long journey of labor and suffering has brought Alberto to this victory. “When I had brain surgery, they advised me to consider forgetting about the bicycle. But thanks to God, everything turned out well, and I could return to the highest level.”
“Today the team worked perfectly. It’s been a pleasure to work with them, and I only hope we find a new sponsor so that we can keep working together.”
Alberto was unhappy with Rasmussen’s attitude. “I was disappointed. He attacked me in the last two kilometers and showed that he doesn’t keep his word,” he said about the current maillot jaune.
Contador admitted that he wouldn’t object to finishing on the final podium in Paris, but added, “Now I’m just thinking about going back to the hotel, falling into bed, and thinking about the race tomorrow. For me, this result is good enough.”
Today, Contador revealed his unique qualities once again: strength made of a blend of steel and elastic, exceptional courage, focus, and intelligence. In conquering the summit of Plateau de Beille, he joins company with only two other Tour de France competitors: Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong.
Stage 14 1st 5.25.48 Young rider 1st 5.25.48
Points 20 Plateau de Beille Mountains 40 Plateau de Beille
GC 2nd 2.23 Young rider 1st 64.14.38 (Closest rival is Soler at 9.08)