tour de france alberto contador cycling
While he was clearly not in peak form during the 2011 Tour de France, it was here where he cemented his reputation as an incessant attacker. Here he drives up the Alpe d’Huez, and although he was eventually caught and passed by Frenchman Pierre Rolland, Contador garnered kudos from the crowd as the day’s principal animator. He finished the Tour in fifth. (James Startt)

A Visual Timeline of Alberto Contador’s Career

tour de france alberto contador cycling
James Startt

While he was clearly not in peak form during the 2011 Tour de France, it was here where he cemented his reputation as an incessant attacker. Here he drives up the Alpe d’Huez, and although he was eventually caught and passed by Frenchman Pierre Rolland, Contador garnered kudos from the crowd as the day’s principal animator. He finished the Tour in fifth.

Although barely able to fill out his yellow jersey, Alberto Contador was the surprise winner of the 2007 Tour de France after pre-race leader Alexander Vinokourov and race leader Michael Rasmussen were both expelled on doping charges.

alberto contador tour de france cycling doping
Although barely able to fill out his yellow jersey, Alberto Contador was the surprise winner of the 2007 Tour de France after pre-race leader Alexander Vinokourov and race leader Michael Rasmussen were both expelled on doping charges. (James Startt)

On the fog-ridden Tourmalet climb, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador forged their epic rivalry during the 2009 Tour. The riders finished on the legendary Tourmalet Pass not once, but twice.

On the fog-ridden Tourmalet climb, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador forged their epic rivalry during the 2009 Tour. The riders finished on the legendary Tourmalet Pass not once, but twice.
On the fog-ridden Tourmalet climb, Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador forged their epic rivalry during the 2009 Tour. The riders finished on the legendary Tourmalet Pass not once, but twice. (James Startt)

With teammate and rival Lance Armstrong on his wheel, Alberto controlled the 2009 race up the Mont Ventoux climb. While the two officially raced for the Astana team, bitter infighting plagued the team during the event.

lance armstrong alberto contador team astana
With teammate and rival Lance Armstrong on his wheel, Alberto controlled the 2009 race up the Mont Ventoux climb. While the two officially raced for the Astana team, bitter infighting plagued the team during the event. (James Startt)

Alberto Contador’s second Tour de France win was also his most tense due to a fierce internal power struggle between himself and Armstrong. He was so isolated from certain aspects of the team that on the morning of the final time trial, all team cars had left for the time trial without him. He nevertheless managed to get to the start and win the final race against the clock.

alberto contador tour de france cycling
Alberto Contador's second Tour de France win was also his most tense due to a fierce internal power struggle between himself and Armstrong. He was so isolated from certain aspects of the team that on the morning of the final time trial, all team cars had left for the time trial without him. He nevertheless managed to get to the start and win the final race against the clock. (James Startt)

With a specially decorated Trek, and an all-matching all-yellow kit, Contador cruises past the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on his way to winning his second Tour de France in 2009.

trek alberto contador tour de france cycling
With a specially decorated Trek, and an all-matching all-yellow kit, Contador cruises past the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on his way to winning his second Tour de France in 2009. (James Startt)

Contador stands next to Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck (left) and American Lance Armstrong (right) on the final victory podium in Paris after the 2009 Tour de France. Although he and Armstrong were on the same team, Contador was much friendlier with Schleck.

alberto contador andy schleck lance armstrong tour de france cycling
Contador stands next to Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck (left) and American Lance Armstrong (right) on the final victory podium in Paris after the 2009 Tour de France. Although he and Armstrong were on the same team, Contador was much friendlier with Schleck. (James Startt)

Contador has long been known for his versatility as a rider. Although the Tour de France is a constant focus, he’s won other great races, like the Tour of Italy and his native Tour of Spain. Here, Contador leads the attack up the Col d’Eze in the springtime Paris-Nice race, an event he’s won twice.

alberto contador paris nice tour of spain
Contador has long been known for his versatility as a rider. Although the Tour de France is a constant focus, he's won other great races, like the Tour of Italy and his native Tour of Spain. Here, Contador leads the attack up the Col d’Eze in the springtime Paris-Nice race, an event he's won twice. (James Startt)

Contador leads Andy Schleck up the climb to the ski resort of Avoriaz during the 2010 Tour de France. Although he was the defending champion, Contador was less dominant during the 2010 race and Schleck’s constant attacking kept him on the defensive the entire time.

alberto contador andy schleck cycling tour de france
Contador leads Andy Schleck up the climb to the ski resort of Avoriaz during the 2010 Tour de France. Although he was the defending champion, Contador was less dominant during the 2010 race and Schleck’s constant attacking kept him on the defensive the entire time. (James Startt)

Contador rolls to the start of stage 16 in the 2010 Tour de France. It was during this race that he came under criticism for attacking rival Andy Schleck during a mechanical mishap, something Contador denies to this day.

alberto contador andy schleck tour de france cycling
Contador rolls to the start of stage 16 in the 2010 Tour de France. It was during this race that he came under criticism for attacking rival Andy Schleck during a mechanical mishap, something Contador denies to this day. (James Startt)

Contador cruises down the Champs Elysées toward what seemed to be his third Tour de France victory in 2010. But weeks later, his win came into question when traces of clenbuterol, a banned substance, were found in his body. He would eventually be stripped of his third Tour title.

Contador cruises down the Champs Elysées toward what seemed to be his third Tour de France victory in 2010. But weeks later, his win came into question when traces of clenbuterol, a banned substance, were found in his body. He would eventually be stripped of his third Tour title.
Contador cruises down the Champs Elysées toward what seemed to be his third Tour de France victory in 2010. But weeks later, his win came into question when traces of clenbuterol, a banned substance, were found in his body. He would eventually be stripped of his third Tour title. (James Startt)

Contador relaxes in his home in Pinto, Spain, a quiet town that stands out only because it’s the geographical center of the country. Contador attributes his upbringing in this modest town to his own centered demeanor.

alberto contador cycling pinto spain
Contador relaxes in his home in Pinto, Spain, a quiet town that stands out only because it's the geographical center of the country. Contador attributes his upbringing in this modest town to his own centered demeanor. (James Startt)

While he was clearly not in peak form during the 2011 Tour de France, it was here where he cemented his reputation as an incessant attacker. Here he drives up the Alpe d’Huez, and although he was eventually caught and passed by Frenchman Pierre Rolland, Contador garnered kudos from the crowd as the day’s principal animator. He finished the Tour in fifth.

Contador signs autographs for fans after arriving for the Montreal Grand Prix in 2013.

alberto contador montreal grand prix
Contador signs autographs for fans after arriving for the Montreal Grand Prix in 2013. (James Startt)

After Andy Schleck, a new generation of challengers have posed problems for Contador. Here, 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome forces the pace in the 2014 Dauphine Criterium, a key warm-up to the Tour de France.

alberto contador dauphine criterium
After Andy Schleck, a new generation of challengers have posed problems for Contador. Here, 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome forces the pace in the 2014 Dauphine Criterium, a key warm-up to the Tour de France. (James Startt)

In what will be remembered as the showdown that never was, Alberto Contador and Vicenzo Nibali were locked in a fierce mano-a-mano up the final climb to Gérardmer in the 2014 Tour de France. But the promising duel collapsed when Contador crashed two days later and was forced to abandon the stage race.

alberto contador cycling
In what will be remembered as the showdown that never was, Alberto Contador and Vicenzo Nibali were locked in a fierce mano-a-mano up the final climb to Gérardmer in the 2014 Tour de France. But the promising duel collapsed when Contador crashed two days later and was forced to abandon the stage race. (James Startt)

Although Contador’s career will be remembered for its highs as well as its lows, he will always be remembered as “El Pistolero.”

alberto contador
Although Contador’s career will be remembered for its highs as well as its lows, he will always be remembered as “El Pistolero.” (James Startt)
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