Contador: Sacrifices paid off
Spanish rider hails emotional win in wake of doping ban
Last Updated: September 9, 2012 6:55pm
Alberto Contador says that "many months" of sacrifices were behind his comeback triumph at the Vuelta a Espana.
The Spaniard spent most of the 2012 season serving a back-dated two-year doping ban after testing positive for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
He returned from the suspension less than two weeks before the start of the Vuelta but still managed to claim a second victory in the Spanish Grand Tour thanks to a long-range attack on stage 17.
"This is the culmination of many months of work and sacrifices and not sparing any effort," he said.
"People sometimes think it is easy but it is not. I dedicate this victory to those who stuck by me in the good and bad moments. It is because of them that I sacrificed myself."
Contador added: "You feel like laughing, crying, it is a series of emotions that you can't express with words. It is incredible.
"It has been hard from the beginning, but the more things cost you the better they taste. Given the background that I arrived here with, this victory is very special for me. I had not competed for a long time and things were complicated."
Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez completed an all-Spanish podium, with Team Sky's British rider Chris Froome finishing as best of the rest in fourth place.
Froome came into the tough three-week race having already finished second at the Tour de France and says he has gained some valuable experience from the event.
"It's slightly disappointing not to come away with more - obviously we had high ambitions coming here. But having said that I'm not disappointed with how we rode and how I rode," Froome told teamsky.com.
"I know I gave it everything and I know the team did a fantastic job to look after me and support me. In that sense there's no disappointment at all.
"It's been a huge learning process. I think there's so much we can take away from this race. Personally I now know where my limits are in terms of doing two Grand Tours back-to-back.
"I know a lot more about the competition that wasn't at the Tour de France this year and will be at future editions and races next year.
"For me it's been the first time leading the team and being in a position where I need to tell the guys around me what I need to get me though the race as best as possible."