On Contador being "unprofessional"

I ended up in a conversation on Twitter today with Weiyun and Simon Sharwood. I didn't get to finish what I had to say, and it really requires a little more than 140 characters so I decided to write a blog post.

At issue is that Contador was "unprofessional" for attacking during last nights stage. Reading today's news Bruyneel had told Contador not to attack, but he did, cracking Kloden in the process.

Weiyun, and others, are of the opinion that that was unprofessional behaviour as a team member.

I say there is no team at play here and Alberto should ride for himself.

Put yourself in his position.

You're (arguably) the best rider in the world, with all three grand tours under your belt when a past champion, and close friend of your team manager comes out of retirement and immediately gets a spot on your team and starts making public noises about wanting to with the tour again.

All of a sudden, it's all about him, not you. The team seem to be riding more for him, not you and the public statements say that the team will support whoever is strongest.

You prove your strength.

Next thing, the team manager announces that he is leaving the team to start a new team with the old champion, team owners start making noises about the disgraced former leader coming back, your team is going to fall apart.

Now you're on the market, at the negotiation table with other teams.

First thing that will be asked of you when money is discussed is "are you really that much better than Lance ?". You need to show people.

So you're on a climb, your team manager is telling you to not attack, so that the former champion doesn't lose any time. A team manager and former champion rumoured to not play nice when "betrayed".

There is no team, the team management don't have a care in the world about you. You need to show what you can do, this is your career at stake.

Would you attack ?

Of course you would.

Views: 51

Comment by Adrian on July 24, 2009 at 10:55am
Reading Armstrong's twitter "Getting lots of question why AC attacked and dropped Kloden. I still haven't figured it out either. Oh well." it seems there a team falling apart. Given the chumy relationship with Bruyneel can you really blame Contador? I agree with you Damian. Contador can ride for himself.

For a laugh, check out As the Toto turns -- a comic strip dedicated to the adventures of Lance et al on tour.
Comment by Adam on July 24, 2009 at 11:05am
Gee I woulda thought that a race is a race and you go for it! No second chances right? If it IS such a "team" sport then why the focus on individuals? Go Contador I say.
Comment by Sammy on July 24, 2009 at 11:43am
agreed. And Kylie, DamianM's insight into each stage is what makes me enjoy it so more than a bunch of coloured jerseys going up and down a hill. ;-)
So D, when are you staring the Tour Blog? ;-)
Comment by Carlin on July 24, 2009 at 12:02pm
If you are an amateur, sure do what you like. But if you are being paid lots of money to ride and do what you are told by the team manager, then yes it is 'unprofessional'.

Right and wrong might be a different issue.
Comment by Susan on July 24, 2009 at 12:17pm
I thought that he looked like he said to Kloden you ready to go and then he went and seemed super surprised to not have Kloden with him. So I'm a bit 50/50. He went because he felt good and was expecting his team mate to come with him, when Kloden didn't come along he didn't keep pushing but merely hung onto the back of the Schlecks. He seems to have the form to have decimated the field but instead didn't keep attacking.

Levi's twitter suggested a possible communications break down as they (as in Kloden Contador) speak to each other in english and neither is very good at it and that when Contador said I'm going and Kloden said OK they didn't understand each other. Kloden thought going as in spent can't do anymore and Contador said going as in attack.

As for team loyalty when a team says they have built everything around you and will ride just for you and then bring in one of the biggest names of all time and say oh we'll just wait and see who has the form before we decide who to work for, you'd be just more than a little bit annoyed.

Add to that members of the same team announcing their new team partnerships for next year in which you have NO MENTION then I think the temptation to prove just how good you are would be a little too strong.
Comment by Ma Dame Vélo on July 24, 2009 at 1:04pm
Yes, I think the announcement, during this Tour, about new teams for next year is extremely unprofessional. What was the point of that timing?
Comment by CraigM on July 24, 2009 at 7:58pm
Sorry Carlin at the pointy end its a mutual effort, managed not commanded, contracted not employed and like any contractor your own bottom line comes first.

I resent the assumption by many that the directors have complete control of the result and riders are standing in line waiting for the laurels to be handed out.

I don't believe anyone has been asked to lead the tour and it has right or wrong always gone to the rider who takes it as Contador has done.
Comment by Neil Alexander on July 25, 2009 at 4:18pm
Are you talking about Astana or Silence Lotto? ;-)
Comment by Neil Alexander on July 25, 2009 at 9:42pm
Yogi, you are a super-domestique. ;-)
Comment by Doddsy on July 26, 2009 at 2:45am
He messed up with his insecurities when he tried to drop lance

Livestrong foundation is worth too much money in exposure.

These guys were in it to get as many Astana riders in the top 5 as possible.

he may find out what its like to ride without a team to support him next year or he may just spend another year on the sidelines.

He may well be an individual rider next year thanks to his immature decisions that will contribute to him not being part of a team
(he is much better than cadel and he may win the tour off his own back)

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