The Astana Cycling Team Fires Back

News & Results

06/2/2008| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen

The Astana Cycling Team Fires Back

Alberto Contador lived up to expectations by winning the 2008 Giro d’Italia. The 25-year-old Team Astana rider is the second Spanish rider in history to win this three-week stage race. Contador finished 11th in the 21st stage, an individual time trial from Cesano Maderno to Milano over 28.5 K, 39 seconds behind Italian TT champion Marco Pinotti (Team High Road). Contador’s main rival Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval), on the eve of the last day second in the general classification, 4 seconds behind Contador, lost 1 minute and 53 seconds. 

Alberto Contador lived up to expectations by winning the 2008 Giro d’Italia. The 25-year-old Team Astana rider is the second Spanish rider in history to win this three-week stage race. Contador finished 11th in the 21st stage, an individual time trial from Cesano Maderno to Milano over 28.5 K, 39 seconds behind Italian TT champion Marco Pinotti (Team High Road). Contador’s main rival Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval), on the eve of the last day second in the general classification, 4 seconds behind Contador, lost 1 minute and 53 seconds. 

After the race Contador was congratulated on the podium by Jaime Lissavetzky, Spanish Minister of Sports, and by Kazakh Minister of Defense Daniel Akhmetov. A Kazakh delegation followed Alberto Contador’s performances during the last week of the Giro. Tomorrow in Spain there will be a series of festivities to honor Contador with a warm reception by the authorities of Madrid and Pinto.

“Incredible.”  Alberto Contador must have used this word a thousand times during this Giro d’Italia. It is indeed difficult to believe what he accomplished, knowing only eight days in advance that he and his teammates would participate in this demanding event. He showed himself vulnerable and  did not win a stage but was simply overall the best. “I never saw Indurain on the bike, as I was still a child when he rode, and in that time I played football and athletics, but yes, I am super proud that I follow in his footsteps.”

Team Manager Johan Bruyneel was more than proud as well.  “No one in their right mind would think that a professional cycling team with one week's notice could even participate in a Grand Tour, let alone come out on top.  My hat is off to our whole team, and to all our staff that came together on such short notice to make this possible.  As for our riders, well they saw opportunity where others saw no chance whatsoever.  We will toast this victory tonight, not only for Alberto Contador, but for the Astana Team as a whole.”

Alberto Contador added: “It is amazing what the others did for me. Riders like Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden, who are potential Grand Tour winners themselves, worked for me like all other teammates did:  Assan Bazayev, Toni Colom, Vladimir Gusev, Maxim Iglinskiy, Andrey Mizurov and Steve Morabito. A sick Andreas Klöden did so much for me. I didn’t know him well before this Giro. I think I have found a new friend.  It is amazing how we all grew close to each other during these weeks.”

Johan Bruyneel: “Many fans and pundits rightfully wondered if Andreas Klöden would be our featured rider following his recent victory in the Tour de Romandie.  I say he was a champion here because he willingly took on the roll of ‘super domestique’.  Unfortunately he came down with a respiratory infection mid-race, but managed to play a decisive role for Contador in Stage 19 before having to abandon.  We could not have won without him.”

The sports directors Alain Gallopin, Sean Yates and Alexandr Shefer

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