Despite having his 2011 title stripped for doping, Alberto Contador is insistent that his 2015 Giro title is the third on his palmares

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) rode into Milan in pink on Sunday to claim the Giro d’Italia’s overall victory. The title, he counts as his third despite a doping suspension that saw 2011’s victory stripped.

Contador dominated the 2015 Giro from start in Liguria to the finish on three weeks later. He did not give his rivals an inch, striking on Abetone to take pink, reminding everyone who is king on Mortirolo and defending himself despite a small crisis on the Colle delle Finestre yesterday. He also does not want to give away his 2011 title.

Due to an anti-doping positive at the 2010 Tour de France, Contador served a suspension and lost several wins including the 2010 Tour and 2011 Giro. Andy Schleck took the title in the former and Michele Scarponi in the latter.

On Saturday at the Sestriere ski resort, celebrating his pink jersey ahead of a final flat sprint stage into Milan, he held up three fingers on the podium above cheering fans.

“For me, I won that Giro d’Italia, all the people who have watched it on TV, including people who followed me, agree,” Contador explained.

“That’s why I held up three fingers. All the riders know I won; no-one has ever said the opposite.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said the opposite with its ruling on February 6, 2012. It banned him for 18 months and stripped him of several wins because he had tested positive for Clenbuterol.

Though the panel said that Contador’s use was not intentional, it put the responsibility on his shoulders and followed through with an official legal ruling.

Alberto Contador on podium, Giro d'Italia 2011, stage nine

Alberto Contador celebrates in the pink jersey at the 2011 Giro d’Italia

Contador and some followers see it differently. Regardless, Scarponi’s name is in the Giro’s race book or what locals call the Garibaldi, and the organisers gave him the winner’s spiral trophy at the start of the 2012 Giro in Herning, Denmark.

In this Giro and over the years, Contador proved he is a fighter.

The rider from Madrid’s outskirts suffered from a brain condition that required doctors to open operate, he dealt with internal team attacks from Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel to win the 2009 Tour de France, and bounced back from his doping ban.

Though Contador will tell you it is nine, the Giro d’Italia title today officially makes seven grand tour titles: Giro in 2009 and 2015, Tour in 2007 and 2009, and the Vuelta a España in 2008, 2012 and 2014.

“The the Giro d’Italia was very demanding. I knew it was going to be very demanding,” added Contador. “The uphill finishes weren’t the ones with big gradients, which perhaps created the impression that it was not so hard, but the fatigue accumulated. It was a Giro d’Italia with a lot of energy expenditure, more than I’d have liked.”

Contador will back off and build up again for the Tour de France, starting on July 4 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. He made it his goal over the winter to try to become only the eighth cyclist in history, the first since 1998, to win the Giro/Tour double.

“Now, I’m going to rest as much as possible,” he added. “My head is already thinking of being as good as possible at the Tour.”

Show us your scars episode three with Bernard Hinault 

  • ummm…

    heeeeyy u…sup

  • ummm…

    …and correct

  • ummm…

    i thought he did.

  • ummm…

    u knooooowwwww

  • ummm…

    What about us that do ride hard and long and love to read articles about the newest doping revelation? What about us that like to point out that all pro sport is rife with doping and that we need to stop living in a fantasy? Can we still keep pointing that out when people start to argue about who doped, or the ethics of doping?

  • Psalmon

    I wonder how many people who make drive-by comments about doping in cycling actually get their fat a$$e$ off their couch and go for a bike ride of 60 or 100 miles? How many have done that even two days in a row? How many have climbed even one 1000 foot climb with a 6% minimum gradient or even a short pitch in the teens? How many stages of this Giro did they watch? How many have gone over the handlebars at least once or left skin on the pavement?

    These same clever provocateurs sit at home and watch football and baseball and soccer, all rampant with doping and laughable testing, itching to impress us all with their original cynical revelations about doping in cycling.

    What sad buggers they are.

  • FT Davidsson

    “Though Contador will tell you it is nine,
    the Giro d’Italia title today officially makes seven grand tour titles:
    Giro in 2009 and 2015, Tour in 2007 and 2009, and the Vuelta a España in
    2008, 2012 and 2014.”


    “He made it his goal over the winter to try
    to become only the eighth cyclist in history, the first since 1998, to
    win the Giro/Tour double.”

    You all need a better copy editor. Giro in 2009 and Tour in 2009 then 2 paragraphs later you contradict that statement. So which is it?

  • nortonpdj

    Contador would show more class if he just let his legs do the talking.

  • Paul Jakma

    Contador himself says he has to watch his weight carefully, regularly. It’s clearly something he has to focus on, as with any rider at that level.

    Again, you’re using the fact that he has met some performance criteria to argue therefore he didn’t need to use a substance that helps with meeting that performance criteria. That’s not a sensible argument. Based on that logic, the intended effect of any performance enhancing substance would then count as evidence of its lack of use.

  • Man in motion

    Really? Is that the (condescending) tone you want to use? Let’s play it the other way around: If you have someone like Carlos Betancur who, after winning Paris-Nice in 2014 gained a considerable amount of kilos and who is known for having a problem keeping his weight down was found to have used Clem, would it make sense? According to your “interesting logic” it wouldn’t, given that you discard the oppotite situation. I’m glad you raise the Armstrong example. Climbing was considered his major weakness prior to his comeback from cancer, then all of the sudden he becomes a great climber. That’s what PEDs will do to you. But Contador has never, not before, not afterwards, had any problems with weight gain. If you are going to disagree with my arguments, do your homework and at least make the effort to put forward yours, rather than your simplistic non-sequiturs.

  • Paul Jakma

    A rider who has been caught using fat-burning substances isn’t guilty cause he’s not fat? Interesting logic.

    I guess Lance was innocent of using EPO and blood transfusions cause he was so fast up the climbs…

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    Those three fingers are two fingers to the doping regulations.

  • JoshLyons

    In my reckoning Alberto has won 3 Giro’s and 9 Grand Tours.

  • Man in motion

    Three things to take into consideration in defence of Contador’s claim. 1) The TAS aony stripped him of his wins due to the “strict laibility” clause, which basically says that he’s guilty until he proves his innocence. It (the TAS) even said that they thought the Clem found in his body was due to contaminated supplemet and no fault of his own. 2) Clembuterol is a drug that is used to loose weight, not something that AC has ever had aproblem with. Had it been EPO it would make sense, but Clem doesn’t. 3) His performance has not shown a deep either after the ban or during the investigation (which is when he won the Giro and was more heavily watched). Had he used PEDs before his performance after or ruding the investitation, presumably without PEDs, would have shown a decline.