Remember at the Giro d’Italia in May when Alberto Contador promised he’d ride the roughly 1,600 km from Madrid to Milan if his Eolo-Kometa team won a stage at its debut Grand Tour? And remember how, on stage 14, Lorenzo Fortunato went and won on the legendary Monte Zoncolan, ensuring Contador (who celebrated so emphatically) would have to live up to his earlier promise?
Well, nearly four months later, the seven-time Grand Tour winner has honoured his promise, setting off from Pinto, just south of Madrid, and heading to Milan.
The 38-year-old isn’t messing around either: on day 1 of his ride, on Monday, Contador covered no less than 368 km from Pinto to the outskirts of Zaragoza in north east Spain. All up he spent 11 hours in the saddle – a healthy average speed of around 35 km/h.
“Today was one of the most beautiful days that I have spent on a bicycle, a beautiful stage lived among friends,” Contador wrote on Instagram afterwards. “Although it may seem surprising, it was even short!
Contador backed up his big opening day with another 276 km on Tuesday in around eight and a half hours, moving him into the Pyrenees near the border with Andorra. He’s planning on pushing into France on Wednesday with another 315 km that should put him on track to reach Milan in six days as planned.
The former Everesting world record holder isn’t tackling this challenge alone – he’s riding with ‘Super Grupeta’, a group of riders all on Aurum bikes – a brand Contador co-founded with fellow former pro Ivan Basso – and wearing Aurum-branded gear.