Alberto Contador Velasco, born on December 6, 1982, in Madrid, is a retired Spanish professional road cyclist widely regarded as one of the greatest stage race riders of his generation. With his seven Grand Tour victories, he is considered one of the most accomplished stage race cyclists of all time. Contador turned professional with ONCE in 2000, and in his first year, he won an individual time trial in the Tour of Poland.
Contador gained prominence in 2005 when he claimed a stage win in the Tour Down Under and emerged as the overall winner of both a stage and the general classification in the Catalan Week. He also won a stage in the ProTour races of the Tour of the Basque Country and the Tour de Romandie, finishing third and fourth overall, respectively. In 2007, he joined the Discovery Channel team. In the first ProTour race of the season, Paris-Nice, Contador emerged as the overall winner and also won the young rider classification.
His most significant achievements came during his three seasons with Astana, where he won the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España, both in 2008, as well as the Tour de France in 2009. These victories cemented his status as one of the most successful stage race riders in the history of the sport.
Like many other prominent cyclists of his time, Contador has faced allegations and controversies related to doping. On February 6, 2012, he was found guilty by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of having tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. He was handed a two-year suspension, which ended on August 5, 2012. As a result of the doping violation, he was stripped of his victories in the 2010 Tour de France and the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
Contador's career was marked by incredible successes on the road, showcasing his talent and determination. While his achievements are undeniably remarkable, the doping controversies have also left a lasting impact on his legacy. Despite the tarnished reputation, Contador's dominance in stage races solidified his status as one of the greatest cyclists of his era.
Alberto Contador's cycling career is characterized by his exceptional climbing abilities and aggressive racing style. His attacking nature on the mountains made him a fan favorite and earned him the nickname "El Pistolero." Throughout his career, Contador consistently demonstrated his ability to excel in three-week stage races, known as Grand Tours.
In addition to his victories in the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, and Tour de France, Contador achieved numerous other notable successes. He won the Critérium du Dauphiné twice, in 2010 and 2014, and claimed victory in the Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) in 2008 and 2009. Contador also triumphed in the Tour of Catalonia in 2011 and the Tour of the Algarve in 2009.
Contador's aggressive style of racing often led to thrilling and memorable moments. One of his most legendary performances came in the 2010 Tour de France on the stage to Col du Tourmalet. Despite struggling with attacks from his rivals, Contador launched a decisive attack of his own and powered his way to victory on the summit finish. This stage win showcased his tenacity and resilience under pressure.
Contador's cycling career was not without its setbacks, primarily due to the doping controversies that plagued the sport during his era. However, he remained a formidable competitor and a respected figure within the peloton. Despite the challenges he faced, Contador continued to inspire fans with his relentless determination and passion for the sport.
After serving his suspension, Contador made a comeback in 2012 and went on to win prestigious races such as the Vuelta a España in 2012 and the Giro d'Italia in 2015. In 2017, he retired from professional cycling, leaving behind a lasting legacy as one of the most exciting and accomplished riders of his generation.
Beyond his cycling achievements, Contador is also known for his charitable endeavors. He established the Alberto Contador Foundation, which aims to promote cycling among young people and support promising athletes. Through this foundation, he has contributed to the development of future talent in the sport.
Despite the controversies surrounding his career, Alberto Contador's impact on professional cycling cannot be denied. His attacking style, unwavering determination, and numerous victories have left an indelible mark on the sport, solidifying his place among the greats of cycling history.