A Conversation with Alberto Contador
Yes, a conversation with that Alberto Contador, or the Alberto Contador depending on your level of fandom. But as you can gather from the range of my questions below, my geek-level is pretty much off the charts. Honestly, though, who really cares about me right now — let’s get the introduction rolling.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, a rock located deep in a cave that’s hidden even deeper in a crevasse nearing the center of the earth, Alberto Contador has won just about everything that there is to win in cycling — multiple times over at that. And with a strong showing in the first part of this season, he’s proving himself to be back on top form, possibly ready to dethrone the likes of Froome.
My interview with him was a long time in the making, slowly grinding its way through liaisons at Sportful, then interpreters, then Contador, then interpreters again, and then finally, to you. The result of this game of telephone are some responses that are pretty discombobulated, chewed up, and scattered, but I’m sure that you’ll get the gist of it.
In this interview, we discuss the origins of Contador’s signature “finger bang,” his passion for bird keeping, and who would get off of the island alive between Oleg Tinkoff and Bjarne Riis.
Photo: Definitely not taken while answering my questions
You first start racing at the age of 14, following suit with your older brother Francisco Javier. What role did your family play in inspiring you to not only race, but to achieve such a storied career?
I became interested in cycling thanks to my brother Fran and then everything came gradually. As for my motivation is pretty simple, I follow my motto: “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Bike racing is a sport of sacrifices, something that you know all too well. What sacrifices have you made in your life for the sake of cycling, and what are you forced to sacrifice day to day?
I made many sacrifices and still do, but if you love what you do, there is not too hard, that’s the key.
What does your diet look like in the pre-season, and how does it differ from when you’re two weeks deep in a Grand Tour?
When you are not racing, always it’s necessary to be careful and especially not to eat too many carbohydrates. During the races it’s easier, because you are doing a lot of exercise!!!
You’ve won all three of the Grand Tours, which race, and which victory, do you hold closest to your heart?
The queen stage of Tour Down Under that I won just after my recovering from the stroke.
If Bjarne Riis and Oleg Tinkov were trapped on an island, who do you think would make it off first?
Both would make it together!
Speaking of Bjarne, I heard that he was integral in some of the designs for the new Saxo Team Kit — specifically the chamois. Along these lines, what’s your favorite piece of Sportful gear that you’ll be using this season?
The BodyFit Race jersey is very good, due to its aerodynamic.
You’ve earned the nickname of “El Pistolero” for your simulated pistol firing at the end of a stage. And while the nickname makes sense, I’m left wondering what is the inspiration for pistol victory? Does it draw from your enthusiasm for hunting, or is there a deeper meaning?
It was the sign I made for showing to a friend I was dedicating the victory to him, and I have continued to use it.
Rumor has it that you’re quite the bird enthusiast, even raising goldfinches and canaries. What is it that you find fascinating about birds?
I used to breed canaries when I was younger, but then I had to stop for lack of time. I’ve always loved animals, and if I failed to be a cyclist, I would have liked to be veterinarian.
Without having to worry about the bike, racing, or answering my odd interview questions, describe your perfect day in Pinto?
Now I’m living in Lugano, but anyway, in Pinto is easy to say: I love to spend my time with my family and close friends.
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