Welcome to the GIRO PRESS ROOM
PINTO: POST-GIRO PRESS CONFERENCE
MACARENA WANTS TO GO BACK TO THE BEACH
CHECKING IN WITH BENJAMIN
NO DAUPHINÉ FOR CONTADOR
REST DAY INTERVIEW
PRE-GIRO INTERVIEW: ADDÌO ALLA DOLCE VITA!
Alberto Contador spoke to the press on Tuesday, June 3, after returning home from Milan, the Giro d'Italia trophy in hand.
He commented on his present status as a Tour/Giro winner, and outlined some exciting plans for late in his 2008 season.
Eurosport reports “It’s not false modesty, but with the Tour and the Giro in my palmarès already, I can be considered a leading name in cycling, but I still have a lot left to do to be among the best,” said the Spanish cyclist during a press conference in his hometown of Pinto (Madrid).
After his victory in the Giro, Contador considered that “to win the triple crown (Tour, Giro, and Vuelta) at 25 is a challenge that suits me. I’ll try to get the Vuelta a España in September, but now it’s time to enjoy the Giro victory.”
“I’m going to go to the Vuelta a España to try to win it. I’m tremendously excited about winning it because it’s my home race and I know that everybody will be watching. The Vuelta and the Olympic Games (Beijing) are now my main goals.”
However, the winner of the 2007 Tour still thinks that 'La Grande Boucle' "is the greatest race," and it will continue being his main objective “every year,” but after the Tour organizers upheld their ban of his team, he acknowledged that he “didn’t expect that the Tour would reverse its decision.”
The Tour organization decided to ban Contador’s team, Astana, from participation due to multiple doping scandals that have blemished the group in the past.
“I still think that this is an unfortunate decision, unfounded, and certainly, I don’t like it,” added Contador before the press, reminding that Astana "is doing its utmost to get to the Tour.”
The Spanish cyclist confessed that he is aware that he could be a factor in the revival of cycling in Spain.
"I’m conscious that if I keep getting good results, it could revitalize cycling, but it wouldn’t be right to compare different periods like the present and those of Perico Delgado and Miguel Indurain."
“In the past year cycling has recovered a little and I hope to do my part,” said Contador. (EN ESPAÑOL)
At the finish line in Tirano was a slim brunette called Macarena, Alberto Contador’s fiancée.
The girl, 23 years old, likeable and attractive, brought the bill from the Barceló Hotel in Chiclana (Cadiz), where she and Alberto were spending a few days when he told her he had to ride the Giro d’Italia.
“I brought it so everyone could verify that it’s true he was on vacation.” From April 30 to May 4.
“We had to leave with two days still paid.”
“I knew it wasn't meant to be, because we loved it and it’s not very often we get away together. When he’s not racing, he’s training. But it was worth it,” said Macarena, dressed in a pink t-shirt just purchased at Decathlón.
People from Pinto are ordinary people. Macarena was fifteen when she met Alberto, who was seventeen. Eight years later they’re still together. She was also there when he won the Vuelta al País Vasco and, with her then, as now, traveled Alberto’s lifelong gang of friends.
Besides being ordinary people, the people in Pinto also have faith. Even though Alberto’s a champion, he hasn’t changed his ways, his relationships. His face lit up when he saw one of the gang at Plan de Corones. That time it wasn’t Macarena, but his older brother Fran.
When the Giro is over, Contador and Macarena want to pick up where they left off when their vacation was interrupted. “When it’s over, I’m going back to the beach,” Alberto said recently in a press conference. R&R for a soldier, and well deserved.
It will be a holiday in pink. (as.com)
(Photo: Francisco Salvatierra)
Benjamin Noval is watching Giro 2008 on TV (La Nueva España)
“Now Alberto is optimistic about the Giro, before he was cautious.”
So says Benjamin Noval, Contador’s lieutenant from Mieres, who is watching the Giro d'Italia leader in action in the maglia rosa, on television.
La Nueva España visited Noval at home in Puenta de Arco (Lavinia) yesterday after a transitional stage won by the sprinter Greipel with the permission of his teammate and leader, Cavendish.
Noval is monitoring Contador's race with excitement, and is sorry not to be in Italy as his confidante, roommate, and guardian angel within the team, working to protect him from crashes and controlling escapes.
Noval says that ten days before the Giro “Contador called me to say that he was going to ride, but that since I was reserved for the Vuelta a España and he was on vacation, he would wait one week.
"Then, five days before the race, he called back to see whether or not it was important to me to go to the Giro, because he had tested himself and, although he wasn’t great, he was okay, and would improve as the stages passed.
"I was going to ride, but then I got a virus with vomitting, fever, and diarrhea. Alberto wanted me to go with him, but when I tried riding the bike I saw that I couldn’t do it.
"It was the right decision, because after that I was at home sick for several more days.”
The captain and lieutenant phone or send messages back and forth from Lavinia to Italy nearly every day. Noval explains that “after the strong finish on the Marmolada we spoke, and he told me that it was his best day so far in the Giro, and that he hoped to arrive in far better shape in the final two mountain stages.
"He worries about Riccò because he’s very strong, and also Simoni can make his life complicated. But I have faith in Alberto because he’s the rider who recovers best, in spite of his allergy problem.
"I noticed how he was doing after the first rest day and now I can see that he’s better, after the three mountain stages where he pushed harder and did a great time trial.
"He has these two stages to recover more, yesterday and today, in order to be in top shape before the Mortirolo stage.”(J.M. Cima, La Nueva España)
as.com reports that Alberto Contador will not ride the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré as planned.
The eight-day French race had been a key element in Alberto's plans for 2008. Taking place June 8-15, it was originally included in his calendar as important preparation for the Tour de France.
When the ASO banned Astana from participating in the Tour, Alberto focused on the Dauphiné Libéré as his only chance for a win in France in 2008.
Due to his current strong bid for victory in the Giro d'Italia, he has chosen to rest in June. The remainder of his provisional calendar for 2008 will include the Olympic Games and the Vuelta a España, September 1 - 23.
Astana's leader in the Dauphiné will be Levi Leipheimer. Leipheimer won the race in 2006.
Breakfast of champions? (AFP PHOTO)
Alberto Contador leaves the Dolomites in an enviable position.
Here’s the account the maglia rosa makes of the high mountain trek that has given him Giro leadership: “The very best account, generally. The first day didn’t go as well as I would have liked. I wasn’t great. I don’t know if it was allergies or because it was the first day in the high mountains, but I lost some time that I shouldn’t have."
The big picture changed Sunday, when Contador started feeling like himself again and recovered his confidence.
“In the Marmolada I already felt far better and I got my confidence back in the time trial, where I was able to keep my rivals at bay and even gain time on some of them. If they had told me before climbing the mountain that I would finish Stage 16 with a 41 second advantage, I would've said amen to that."
What’s it like being in the Giro, how would you describe it?
I’d say that it seems like a funny race because I came here on the rebound and I’ve been taking it one day at a time. There’ve even been stages when I thought I was going to retire, but then I started feeling better every day and haven’t noticed a feeling of pressure.
I’m sleeping really well and I haven’t been nervous, not even about the time trial. That’s why it seems weird, because even in a one week race I feel nervous about time trials, but not here.
I think that’s why it’s going so well, because I don’t notice the pressure. That’s the secret of success.
After the time trial, what are your plans?
First, rest. I’m going to take advantage of the day off and look at what's coming in the last five days. There are two stages that aren’t too problematic, where we’ll need to control the bonuses, and then the other two mountain stages.
In the summit finishes I more or less hope that that differences will be small, like they have been so far, and the day of the Mortirolo—-clearly, it will be very hard. The race will be on, from the very beginning.
Then comes the last time trial. As to my rivals, I’ve got some advantage, and even if I arrive with a bit of a deficit, I’ll be able to make up for it.
Who are your most dangerous rivals now, and in what order?
Riccò and Simoni. To face them, I’m also counting on the help of the team.
How’s your team?
The team is very well, very motivated and all the riders are ready to work to win.
Having teammates like Klöden and Leipheimer is insurance and really boosts my confidence. I have total faith in them and proof of this is that in the time trial, instead of competing, they let it go. That’s a signal that they’re all for the team.
How does it feel to have the maglia rosa on your shoulders?
I’m living the experience with great joy. People are treating me with enormous affection and it’s been a nice surprise to see that the Italians like me.
I couldn’t have predicted that I’d be riding the Giro, but now I’m glad I came. Whether or not I win--because it will continue to be very difficult--it’s been worth it. (MARCA)
Alberto was injured in a fall on Stage 8 (Sirotti, cislismovitamia.it for cyclingfans.com)
ASTANA PRESS RELEASE Alberto Contador’s visit to the radiologist today revealed a fissure in the radius head of his left elbow.
The fracture, without dislocation, stems from his Stage 8 crash from Rivisondoli to Tivoli.
Though Contador was able to complete the stage and yesterday’s Stage 9, the bruising and discomfort prompted a formal examination on the Giro d’Italia’s first rest day. The x-rays showed that the fracture is stable and the 2007 Tour de France Champion has been cleared to ride tomorrow’s time-trial.
“As all riders know, winning a Grand Tour takes some hard work, luck and health. Unfortunately, having a small fracture does not make the journey to Milan any easier, but I’m motivated and will try to fight through the pain,” said Contador after his afternoon training ride.
“I do not intend to leave the race,” commented Alberto Contador at his return to the team hotel.
“During my training ride of today, I felt my elbow, but I felt as well that I could do the normal or desired efforts. So, why should I leave the race then? Moreover, this race is one of the big cycling monuments. I am a hard one, I stay. The last days my legs felt better and better. The longer I was in the Giro, the better I felt. “
An extra problem can be that, due to the position of the injury, the aerodynamic position on the time trial bike cannot be fully obtained.
“That is a problem for tomorrow”, continues Alberto Contador. “I hope I still make a good time trial. The doctors tell me that it is a small fracture. With a bit luck, I can recover a bit during the “easier” stages of Wednesday to Friday.”
Sports Director Sean Yates recognized that the first week of the Giro was quite a challenge for his Team.
“After a week of crashes and Grand Tour style racing, it’s good to have this rest day. We lost Steve Morabito the other day [dislocated shoulder], the Goose [Vladimir Gusev] was banged up earlier in the week and now Alberto has a small fracture.
It’s certainly not ideal for any team vying for the Maglia Rosa, but we’ll reexamine the injuries after each stage and hopefully make it to Milan with the remaining eight riders.”
Alberto Contador says goodbye to the sweet life and straps on his armor
Interview by Josu Garai, MARCA
Contador was on the beach when they told him he was going to ride the Giro.
After the Tour decided to snub Astana this year, Alberto Contador thought he would have a calm month of May, but he has had to change plans in order to dispute the Giro d’Italia, starting Saturday.
The Madrileño had to interrupt his vacation to resume training and get the power back in his legs.
Have you come to grips yet with the idea of what awaits you in Italy?
What choice do I have! I was on a beach vacation with my fiancée, in Cadiz, when I received a call from Johan Bruyneel telling me that the Giro had included the team, and therefore, I had to ride. I’ve had to swap my swimming trunks and flip-flops for a jersey and bike shorts.
And, under the circumstances, did the call from your director seem like a practical joke?
A bit, yes, because at first I couldn't believe it. I was on vacation, hardly touching the bike, and they tell me I have to ride the Giro…
Right now I’m out of condition, although since the first stages of the Giro are flat maybe I can get into the rhythm of competition a little before we get to the mountains.
Are you really a long way from form, or can you get in shape in just a short time?
I’m far from it, and the sensations I have aren’t much better than the ones from the Vuelta al País Vasco. Last week, while I was on vacation, I only went out to ride three days, but on the same day Bruyneel called I packed the suitcases, came to Madrid, and this week I’ve done the best I could. My fiancée’s going to kill me…
Have you had time to look at the Giro route?
Yes, it’s the first thing I did. And it’s surprising how many kilometers some of the stages have. There’s one with 265 km and several with 220 km, among them the penultimate stage and the one before that, where you also have to climb the Gavia and the Mortirolo.
The last day, as if that weren’t already enough, far from having a celebration to honor the winner, there’s an individual time trial. The difficult part is super-concentrated in the last week, which for me is a relief because the first days will be flat.
Is there any reason to be optimistic? Do you think about the victory… or the podium?
No, I’m not even thinking about a win, plus it would be getting people’s hopes up for no reason. On the contrary, if I felt really tired, I’d have to make a decision.
Are you hinting at a possible withdrawal?
I’m saying that they can’t just warn you five days in advance, because a three-week race needs to be prepared in detail, both physically and mentally, and I’m not going to be able to do that.
The Giro, as I say, is a beautiful race, probably the best one for climbers, but I’m not going to be able to arrive the way I’d like.
Does that make you angrier and more upset?
Yes, it annoys me not to arrive in form. I’ll be an unknown quantity, and I’m not going to have any other choice than to take it one day at a time. But I’ll do the best I can.
Is there any chance that the Tour de France will also reconsider its position and find a spot for you at the start line?
That’s just talk, because I don’t believe that the Tour is going to change its mind, but if they did, I’d request that they do it soon, not five days before the race, since that’s what’s happened to me now.
I like to go to the races with guarantees, with the intent to win and to make spectacle. And now I’m not going to be able to do it. If it happened the same way with the Tour, far from being a favor, it would be a chore. Please, don’t give me only five days warning…
Won’t riding the Giro d’Italia throw the rest of your season into disarray?
No. (it’s an emphatic no) My next goal is the Dauphiné Libéré, which I’ll try to prepare for now during the Giro. In the absence of the Tour, and if everything else stays the same, next come the Olympic Games and the Vuelta a España, where I already have a certain commitment.
A step like this would mean three grand tours in one year.
No it wouldn’t, absolutely not. I’m only 25 years old and I’ve got to think about the future. In addition, I repeat that I like to go to the races to make a good show, I don’t just race to ride. I don’t have any need to do 100 days of competition: I’d rather do 50, and do them well.
The Gavia way back when. It's paved now. (trentobike)
Mortirolo: Pretty in springtime, a beach to climb (fietsbetergroen)
top right photo, Remembering Curaçao, 2007 (Tim de Waele pubic gallery)
Invited to the Giro at the last minute with his team, Astana, Alberto Contador assumes that he will arrive short of form at the Giro.
According to Sport.es, This Saturday Alberto Contador will be in Palermo, the starting point of the 2008 Giro. But nobody expects to see him at his best.
“Just five days ago I was on the beach, on vacation,” argues the Madrileño, who has to yield the team leadership on the roads of Italy to other important Astana men, like Andreas Klöden or Levi Leipheimer.
“I’m not at a good moment of form, and this isn’t the best way to go to a race as demanding as the Giro,” he added.
The winner of the 2007 Tour de France was glad his team has been added to the Giro roster at the eleventh hour, but he admitted that the change of plans has caught him off guard. “It’s necessary to prepare a race like the Giro far in advance, physically as much as psychologically.
"My objective? I’ll take it one day at a time and make decisions based on how my body is responding.”
Contador, resting from competition since winning the Vuelta al País Vasco on April 12, spoke about the hypothesis that the Tour de France might lift its embargo on Astana.
“It’s difficult, but if they invited us to the Tour five days in advance, it would not be a consolation."
"I like to go to win each race, and if I’m going to the Giro badly prepared, imagine if I had to go to the Tour like that. The body has a limit.”
“I’m very pleased to be able to participate in the Giro d’Italia. I’ll try to arrive in the best possible shape.”
The Giro website reports Alberto Contador is happy. The decision of the organisers to include his team among the 22 who will start in Palermo on Saturday is good news in a part of the season that would have been “consecrated” to Tour de France preparation.
“When I learned that I was going to take part in the Giro I was on vacation. The Giro d’Italia was not among my plans, so I’m not in top form. The Giro is an extraordinary race for a climber, which is clearly shown by the names of the cyclists that have won it.”
“I have great respect for this race, and will try to honor it in the best possible way. I like to climb, but I can’t know at the moment how my form will improve in a race that unfolds over three weeks.”
Astana Cycling Team will ride the Giro d'Italia, May 10-June 1, according to team spokesman Philippe Maertens.
The team received an invitation on Friday, after a meeting between Johan Bruyneel and Giro official Angelo Zomegnan.
Astana has confirmed that they will take the start in Sicily, and Alberto Contador will be on the roster.
The official announcement was made earlier today, not long after Astana's Andreas Klöden was awarded the final winner's jersey at the Tour of Romandie.
Klöden and Levi Leipheimer, who have both finish on the final podium at the Tour de France, will join Alberto as co-leaders of the team.
Alberto has never ridden the Giro. He is currently training again after a week of rest and antibiotics to treat the painful abscess that plagued him in Basque Country, where he was nevertheless victorious.
Maertens said that “the condition he finds himself in is not the best for confronting a three-week race, but if he must do it, he will, because he is first of all a professional.”
"I was on vacation and training little by little with my sights on the Dauphiné Libéré," Alberto said.
"I had the Vuelta a España and the Olympic Games in my plans, but it’s a joy for the team to be able to go to the Giro.”
"It's a surprise and a challenge."
Astana start list: Bazayev, Colom, CONTADOR, Gusev, Iglinskiy, Klöden, Leipheimer, Mizurov, Muravyev.
DAILY PELOTON has the full story.