ALBERTO CONTADOR, AKA EL PISTOLERO, left us like a string of firecrackers instead of an M80. He was so close to astonishing, and I think it’s because he just mistimed his taper. I believe he could have beat Chris Froome in the 2017 La Vuelta, and I believe he planned his season around the biggest exit ever in the sport.
The 2017 Vuelta was the best grand tour of the year, by far. More drama, more suspense. Instead of Contador going out with a giant bang, Chris Froome proves his complete dominance.
(Note: Tapering is the training you do just before a key event, do too much and you are too tired/too little and you lose too much fitness. Doing it right will have you at maximum strength on the big day(s).)
To me, it’s pretty obvious Bert raced Le Tour de France as a tune up for La Vuelta. He underperformed to the point of embarrassment.
But, he had a plan…
he always does,
and it’s not what you think.
One, he just wanted to get the miles in and see how the other guys were racing. Two, he wanted to once again catch people off-guard… in this case, having his competitors underestimate his fitness for La Vuelta.
Everything was going exactly to plan.
Why then did he lose so much time on a early stage?
Based on the super exciting performances he gave us the rest of the way to Madrid, I think he came in a little undercooked. What I mean is, he started the Vuelta almost too rested with the plan being that his fitness would increase over the 3 weeks of racing. Part of that plan included banking on the other favorites to win getting more tired as the days accumulated because most of them had actually raced a lot more while he merely trained at Le Tour.
It was almost so perfect… he nearly blinded us with explosive brilliance, instead it was a lovely Roman Candle of a performance.
Don’t get me wrong, only he could do what he did.
After his disastrous day left him 30 places off the podium, he attacked and attacked… when we least expected it he punched his fellow races in the face… day after day.
Finishing 4th after a start like that is masterful, but less than what he wanted to give himself and his fans.
Contador has either finished atop the podium or not on it at all at the grand tours.
So, maybe it was perfect after all?