Bertie’s no Donkey !

It is often said that you can’t make a race horse out of a Donkey . Talent will always shine through . Yesterday one Astana rider showed that he was no Donkey .


Alberto Contador or ‘Bertie’ as he is known , laid down a marker for the upcoming season . By winning the opening time trial of Paris – Nice seven seconds ahead of Bradley Wiggins he has shown that he means business . The triple Grand Tour winner is probably the best climber in the World at present . He can time trial with the best of them , and he can recover well enough to win multiple three week tours . He is physically the best Tour rider in the world at present .

Cycling is not all just physical however , the psychological aspect is just as important and this is where ‘Bertie’ has some serious opposition . Mainly from wthin his own team . He is the quiet , unassuming country boy whereas his team-mate and former seven time Tour champion Lance Armstrong is a one man publicity machine.

Lance is from Texas , and I once sat between two engineers who were talking about boilers . One was from rural Ireland whilst the other was from Texas . The Irish guy was telling the Texan about a great big huge boiler that he had worked on that was almost as big as a small house when the Texan replied that they would use that for heating  a chicken coop . He worked on boilers back home so big that they used to drive a JCB around inside of them and they were six storeys high .

Bertie is like the Irish guy when it comes to his off the bike persona . Lance is Texan , and he has that big boiler profile . He is bigger than any bike race or even cycling itself . He is a global political and celebrity figure . Eurosport have a programme called ‘Planet Lance ‘ and it is pretty close to the mark in it’s title .


The season long battle of will’s between both team-mates will be an interesting one to watch . Lance will be psyching Bertie out of it and how Bertie responds will decide who will wear yellow in Paris in July .


During yesterday’s time trial Bradley Wiggins held the lead until Bertie crossed the line . Afterwards he was inconsolable at the loss . At one point during the TT Wiggins began gesticulating at a TV helicopter that he felt was flying too close to him . As soon as he raised his hand from the bars he was playing with fire . For the helicopter to annoy him that much meant that he was not fully focused on the job in hand . Time trials are just about pain and suffering . You have to get into a zone where you concentrate on the pain and only the pain . Everything else around you has to be blocked out . The physical act of waving at the helicopter did not cost him seven seconds , but the break in his concentration easily did .

Bertie held his nerve when the helicoptors decended upon him , lets hope he can do the same with planet lance !


3 thoughts on “Bertie’s no Donkey !

  • March 9, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Perhaps Lance might be described as in the following example ;

    An american visiting the beautiful lakes of Killarney stopped off for a bite to eat at a local restaurant. After browsing over the menu for 20 minutes he ordered roast beef with extra potatoes. He received his meal within 5 minutes and began to whinge to the waiter. What are these marbles on the plate he asked ? Potatoes ! answered the waiter. Well says the american, back home in Texas our potatoes are at least three times the size of your potatoes ! The waiter replied, here in Ireland we grow the potatoes to suit the size of our mouths !!!!!!!!!!!

  • March 15, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Still think Bertie’s no donkey ? I know Lance made the same mistake when chasing Marco on a stage in the TdF, but bonking on a stage is a schoolboy error is it not ? Considering the professional setup of the team surely someone should have been monitoring his food intake. And as I type this I’ve seen an update on twitter that he’s on the attack in Paris Nice….. Trying to repair the damage ?

  • March 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I think that it is a lot better for this to happen in March rather than July and he fought back in a way which will have gained him many new fans within the cycling world . Even more than if he had won . So , yes , I do still think that Bertie is no Donkey , although he should eat more carrots , or any sort of food 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *