The management, sport directors, riders, mechanics, soigneurs, doctors and entire staff of Tinkoff-Saxo would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Alberto Contador on this prestigious award. In 2014 he clearly demonstrated he was a great champion and a remarkable athlete.
Alberto has been awarded the 2014 Vélo d’Or prize in recognition of a successful and spirited season. The award founded by French magazine Vélo Magazine is given annually to the rider considered to have performed the best throughout the season.
Alberto Contador, who also won the award in ‘07,’08 and ’09, was given the prize by a poll of international journalists. The news was officially announced in Vélo Magazine on the 30th of October.
Alberto’s performance and achievements during the season are impressive and the entire team has witnessed his determination throughout the year. The Spanish captain meticulously prepared for 2014 during the off-season and has been highly visible during the year. A nearly flawless spring season, his forced and unfortunate withdrawal from Tour de France and his comeback and victory at the Vuelta are among the highlights.
So what makes Alberto’s more than 10,000 kilometers of racing stand out? Well, 9 victories and 19 top-3’s do for a start – but that’s not the whole story.
Alberto Contador’s 2014 Season Highlights
Laying the foundation – off-season training and first race of the year
Volta ao Algarve: 2nd in GC, 1 stage win
Multiple camps and carefully planned training laid the basis for Alberto’s season. In the mild winter climate of the Canary Island, he first trained with the entire team and later on with a small group of teammates. In his first race of the season, it was obvious that Contador was ready for 2014. He finished 2nd overall in Volta ao Algarve after launching a series of punchy attack and winning the queen stage.
Tirreno-Adriatico: 1st in GC, 2 stage wins
A month later in March, Alberto Contador spearheaded Tinkoff-Saxo in the one-week “Race of the Two Seas”. As the race moved into the Apennine Mountains, it quickly became evident that Alberto was in shape and meant business. He won stage 4 after great groundwork by teammate Roman Kreuziger. And on the next stage finishing on the dreaded Muro di Guardiagrele, Alberto attacked from the distance, put significant daylight between him and his main rivals including Giro d’Italia-winner Nairo Quintana and took stage glory after catching and riding away from the breakaway. Contador won the race with more than two minutes.
Vuelta al Pais Vasco
Vuelta al Pais Vasco: 1st in GC, 1 stage win
Volta a Catalunya: 2nd in GC
After having finished 2nd in Volta a Catalunya just 4 seconds behind winner Joaquim Rodriguez, Alberto once again stood atop the podium in Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He had won stage 1 in front of Alejandro Valverde after a memorable duel on the steep final climb. Once again, Alberto confirmed to himself and the team that the combined efforts of the team were paying off. He now had 2 months to prepare for Critérium du Dauphiné and the main goal Tour de France.
Crashing out of Tour de France in prime condition
Tour de France: DNF
Critérium du Dauphiné: 2nd in GC
Alberto Contador was ready at the start of Tour de France in England in the wake of months of training, reconnaissance and a persistent duel against rival Chris Froome in Dauphiné that resulted in an overall 2nd place behind Andrew Talansky. But on the first mountain stage, after nine unusually hard and challenging stages, Contador crashed and cracked his tibia forcing him to abandon his main goal of the season and possibly the Vuelta as well. This was at the time a devastating blow to everyone on Tinkoff-Saxo. However from his home, Alberto witnessed how his teammates rose to the occasion and won three mountain stages and the polka dot jersey.
Outstanding comeback and victory at the Vuelta a España
Vuelta a España: 1st in GC, 2 stage wins
While Rafal Majka and the rest of Tinkoff-Saxo continued to perform in the first part of August, Alberto Contador’s participation in Vuelta a España was still uncertain. But on the 14th of August, Tinkoff-Saxo could happily announce that Alberto had managed to pull off an impressive recovery and was able to start the Vuelta. His ambitions were moderate before the first stage in Jerez. However, as the race progressed it became clear that the determined recovery program had paid off. Alberto assumed the leader’s jersey on stage 10 and the scene was set for an outstanding battle against his main competitors, Froome, Valverde and Rodriguez. Alberto soloed to victory on two mountain stages, including the queen stage, and crossed the finish line in Santiago de Compostela as the winner of the Vuelta.