Contador Cements Spain's Summer of Dominance

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07/28/2010| 0 comments
by AP, with additional commentary by

Contador Cements Spain's Summer of Dominance

Alberto Contador returned home Monday after winning his third Tour de France title, a triumph that capped another summer of Spanish dominance in world sport.

July 26, 2010 - Madrid, Spain - epa02262162 Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador (R) and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (L) pose for photographers with the Tour de France overall leader's yellow jersey during a reception at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, central Spain, 26 July 2010. Contador won his third Tour de France on 25 July 2010 in Paris, France.

Alberto Contador returned home Monday after winning his third Tour de France title, a triumph that capped another summer of Spanish dominance in world sport.

Contador was received by hundreds of fans - mostly from his native Pinto - at Madrid's Barajas international airport before meeting with Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

"It's wonderful to contribute to this moment in Spanish sport, which is in such healthy shape and is the envy of so many other countries," Contador said after presenting Zapatero with a replica yellow Tour jersey.

It's been a busy time for Zapatero, who seems to be greeting triumphant homegrown athletes quite often recently.

A World Cup victory earlier this month confirmed Spain's position as the best footballing country in the world two years after it began its resurgence with a European Championship win. The victory in South Africa came one week after tennis star Rafael Nadal clinched his second Wimbledon trophy and eighth Grand Slam title by the age of 24. Nadal also won his fifth French Open title in May.

"A Spanish July," wrote El Mundo newspaper as Contador and Formula One driver Fernando Alonso's victory at the German Grand Prix on Sunday "closed the greatest month ever in Spanish sport."

While Alonso is in the hunt for his third F1 title in six seasons, Jorge Lorenzo won the United States GP in Laguna Seca to lead the Moto GP standings.

Meanwhile, Spain's national basketball team - already European champions and Olympic silver medalist - was preparing to defend its world championship title in Turkey in September.

Rafael Nadal also helped Spain to its third Davis Cup victory in five years in 2009.

"Spanish sport is on a spectacular streak," Zapatero said.

Alberto Contador's win - his third in four years - heralded the arrival of a new cycling superstar. At 27, Contador is well positioned to challenge Lance Armstrong's record of seven Tour titles - not to mention Spanish great Miguel Indurain's mark of five.

Contador joined Greg LeMond, Louison Bobet and Philippe Thys as a three-time Tour champion.

"I know I've taken a very important step in the history books, that my name is now alongside legendary cyclists," the Astana rider said.

After his reception with Zapatero at the Moncloa government palace, Contador was scheduled to head home to Pinto, the suburb some 20 kilometers south of the Spanish capital, for another reception.

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