Interview with Alberto Contador: “What I don't miss is going hungry”
Alberto Contador (Madrid, 1982) left the competition, but not cycling. Now it is dedicated to its Foundation and the Kometa Xstra team, a quarry formation with aspirations to continue growing. A task that has now added the design of a bicycle with its own brand.
–How does this new facet live?
- Well, with desire. It's a thing that I like, it fills me, because it motivates me to do it. It is a very big effort that you have to do and you do it because you like it, but also because you know about the need that in Spanish cycling we can have the health we have had the last decade. The runners do not go out, they leave because there are projects, there are teams where they have the possibility of being able to emerge, of being able to run in the best races in the world, not only in professional but also in the lower categories and to train them. It is to return a little to cycling everything that has given you, but you have to recognize that it is hard work, day to day and sometimes complicated moments are passed.
- The most difficult thing is to find sponsors?
-Exact. Of the sponsors that we have 85 percent are practically foreigners. It would be really good for Spanish cycling to have another team in the top category. This year there have been four runners of our team who have gone to World Tour. The project is working, but it is a pity that this last jump cannot be taken with us. We are working for it, we are in conversations with many sponsors, but it is not easy. With a "sponsor" or with a couple of them you can get the continental category. On the other hand, to make a World Tour you need a multinational.
- Have you set deadlines to get to the World Tour?
-No, I don't believe in deadlines. Our priority is the youth team and the sub’23 team. And the continental team is to try to give continuity to the sub’23 team. The World Tour team would serve to give that continuity and to try to close the circle.
- How was your transition? Do you miss the competition?
- I really like the competition and I really liked to run, you always miss it a little. If you told me that I will be able to continue until 60, but I knew that I was going to have to stop three or four years later, and I said: «I have a good taste in my mouth, with a nice memory for the fans and that's it» .
- There are athletes who miss discipline. Does it happen to you?
- I was going to Teide and all I had to do was train and rest. Of course, the part of Teide where I had to go to bed every night with incredible hunger, that you were not even able to fall asleep from the hunger you had, that there came a time when you even looked at what you drank to weigh no more The next day, I honestly don't miss it. But train there in good weather, good company, [lo haría] Enchanted of life.
- Do you feel that this end excites people more than their triumphs in the Tour or in other greats?
- There is one thing that I am convinced of, that last Tour of Spain has given me more than others that I have won. I have it very clear. I believe in cycling show, I understand that in sport you always fight for victory and what is worth is victory. And I am the first one that when he goes to a race, before a Tour, a Turn or a Turn I do not sign a second place or a third or crazy. But I also say that in terms of profitability it is much more profitable to make a Tour like the one I did in the last year than a second place going round the wheel all day. Or a third party.
–There are invisible podiums.
-Exact. I think that what often happens in people is emotion. And one who did not have great results, but had a charisma that marked people a lot was Chava, for example. Or Pantani, who has won the Tour and won the Tour, but at the level of great laps it has not been one of the greatest in history. He is remembered that way because of the deeds he did, because he did things different from the rest. You put the brand value of Pantani with respect to another that may have won four great laps and that of Pantani is infinitely greater.
- That Vuelta looked like it was over in Andorra and it got prettier thanks to you.
–I think that things happen because they have to happen and that day I don't know why, it wasn't right, I couldn't digest anything I ate and I caught a bird, but eating. Something that had never happened to me. But that was what allowed me to free myself and run as I like, enjoy people, spend a lot of time on people on buses before the race, after the race, not weigh myself during the race. I said "I'm eating what I want and that's it". Attack without thinking about the next day. I think that running without the calculator, by instinct, trying to break the race is what has become a reality in people.
-Your 2011 Turn is also one of those races that mark.
- It was easier than from the inside. I had to play poker a lot in the Giro, I had a tremendous allergy and the sunny days were calm. And on rainy days I knew I had to make a difference. There were rainy days that didn't invite him, but I knew it was time. But of course, this I didn't tell anyone. To my roommate, yes because it was Jesus [Hernández] normally, but not the rest of teammates. Because if they didn't know what your weak point was. That year they were partners, but the following year they were rivals.
- Now that the Down Under has just run, do you remember that victory at Willunga Hill when you returned after the stroke?
-Man, I remember because it was a super-exciting victory for me. It was the return after the caveman, of the stroke I suffered, and running back to the Tour Down Under was already incredible and getting the victory in the queen stage arriving with Luis León was already something I think is insurmountable. Very unsurpassed after so many months out of the competition, so young, and you look at him with love.
–As everything happens for something, that stroke has also brought him here, to assemble this team with the foundation behind.
-So is. In the Foundation, what is most known is the sports part, with the cycling teams, but there is also the social part with the stroke, which is a disease that I think we all know in a closer or more distant way because we have people affected by this disease, fatal consequences or sequelae. Since I suffered it, we worked on the knowledge of this disease and with social works such as Bikes for life by Skoda. We started in 2012 collecting bicycles on the Tour of Spain and we have been receiving bicycles for years and sending them to Africa, in villages so that they can go to school with them or go for water. They are bicycles that people have forgotten at home and also arrive at centers in Spain that we often believe they do not need, but they have a tremendous need.
–Now that you are out, do you realize things you did not see when you were on the road?
-Do not. In my case I have been a runner, but in a way apart from a runner you had to be like a manager, like a boss, because you had to try to make the people who worked for you directly, whether they were staff or runners who were going to accompany you especially in the Tour they had to be extramotivated. They had to have the greatest possible facilities. As soon as they had something that bothered them, they could already be some pedals, a helmet or that was going through financial difficulties or that was separating from his wife, you had to try to help him in the way that was possible. In that sense, no. Perhaps, although I have always been mega-meticulous in everything where I am getting more experience it is in the bicycle sector. Because at the end this year with the project that we have launched to make a bicycle practically from scratch. We started a year and a half ago with all the development, all the tests to the millimeter as I looked at it when I was going to win a Tour de France you realize what a small modification in the bicycle means at the cost level, at the time level, but It's something that I like.