Alberto Contador has set off on a 1,600km trek from Madrid all the way to Milan, to celebrate his team’s first Grand Tour stage victory.
Eolo-Kometa, the Italian-registered but Spanish-based team set up by retired Grand Tour stars Contador and Ivan Basso, competed in their first three-week race earlier this year, the Giro d’Italia.
Despite only stepping up to ProTeam level at the start of 2021, Contador’s team emerged from the Giro with a stage win on one of the toughest mountains in Italy, the Monte Zoncolan, as Lorenzo Fortunato took a stunning victory.
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Before the start of the 2021 edition of the Italian Grand Tour, Contador promised to take on his own mammoth cycling challenge if the team were able to beat the odds and win a stage - words he may have regretted as he watch Fortunato’s victory on the TV screen.
On Monday (September 13), the 38-year-old set off on the first leg of his long-distance challenge, surrounded by a group of friends.
The huge first ride was an impressive start, as Contador spent 10 hours and 39 minutes on the saddle, covering 368km from Madrid to Zaragoza.
Contador, who retired from professional racing in 2017, said: “Today was one of the most beautiful days that I have spent on a bicycle, a beautiful stage lived among friends.”
The Spaniard is becoming famous for his ultra-cycling challenges after his retirement, as he briefly held the Everesting record back in July 2020.
In August, he was forced to step off the bike during a brutal 240km ‘Everest’ Grand Fondo in Switzerland, admitting he wasn’t prepared for the event.
But he appears to have found his form once again, as he still has around 1,300km left to ride on his extraordinary celebration tour.
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