Alberto Contador Wins 2011 Giro d'Italia
Team Saxo Bank-SunGard's Alberto Contador has won the Giro d'Italia for the second time, easily capturing the race after finishing third in the final stage 21 time trial.
Team Saxo Bank-SunGard's Alberto Contador secured his second Giro d'Italia title earlier today, beating his closest rival by more than six minutes after finishing third in the final individual time trial.
The Spaniard pounded his chest and celebrated with his traditional pistol shot gesture as he finished the 16-mile individual time trial around Milan in 30 minutes, 49 seconds, trailing stage winner David Millar (Team Garmin-Cervélo) by 36 seconds.
"I wasn't really thinking about winning the final time trial when this Giro started, but I started to feel better as the Giro went on and then I really wanted to win today," stage winner Millar told Roadcycling.com and added "I felt good in the first kilometer. And I could keep up a consistent speed throughout the stage. It's a great way to finish the Giro for me and the team."
"It really meant a lot to me to have the pink jersey, especially after what happened to Wouter Weylandt. It was a real honor to wear the jersey that day we rode in honor of Wouter," Millar continued, referring to the tragic death of Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt in stage 3. "I felt like a real racer again in this Giro. I was on the attack, I won the pink jersey, I won a stage and I helped out my team."
"It is an amazing feeling to win the Giro d'Italia here today and it is a dream finale," Contador told Roadcycling.com and our mobile sister site Roadcycling.mobi and continued "My team was really supportive throughout and we didn't really (ever) have a bad day."
Contador added to his 2008 Giro title by finishing with an overall time of 84:05:14, beating Michele Scarponi (Team Lampre) by 06:10. Vincenzo Nibali (Team Liquigas-Cannondale) was third, another 46 seconds back.
"Myself and Vincenzo fought to the end, but it wasn't to be," Scarponi told reporters and added "Alberto Contador was stronger than all of us. He's stronger than everyone. I'm happy with second though and I've had a good Giro d'Italia."
The win gave Contador his sixth grand tour victory and opened up the possibility he could try for a sweep of the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta a Espana titles in a single season. He won the Tour de France in 2007, 2009 and 2010, and the Vuelta a Espana in 2008.
Looming over his season are the appeals filed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
They are challenging the Spanish cycling federation's decision to clear Contador of doping at last year's Tour de France. He blames his positive test for clenbuterol on eating contaminated beef.
The CAS postponed the original June 6-8 hearing date and has yet to set new dates.
"It's a huge win for Alberto and for the entire team and obviously, I'm immensely proud of our achievements. Alberto has shown incredible stability and that's the main reason that he's so successful. Besides from winning overall, he wins the point classification and is second in the mountain classification, which underlines his stability and stamina," Team Saxo Bank-SunGard owner Bjarne Riis told Roadcycling.com.
"The course of this Giro has been extremely demanding which has been to his advantage and in my opinion, he has done an errorless race," Riis concluded.
Contador was unchallenged in this year's Giro since taking the lead by winning the ninth stage on Mount Etna in Sicily.
Local favorites Scarponi and Nibali were unable to keep pace with him whenever he attacked on the mountain stages and they had to watch the Spaniard open a morale-sapping lead that he extended over the race.
Contador only added one other stage win -- the 16th from Belluno to Nevegal -- but was graciously second on four occasions to keep Scarponi and Nibali at bay.
"The stage yesterday and Gardeccia was bad, but I still believe that I can win in the future," Nibali said after being celebrated on the podium with Contador and Scarponi and added "Yesterday, I started with the idea of doing something, but then something went wrong. At least I tried."
Roman Kreuziger of Team Astana took the white jersey for best young rider, while Acqua & Sapone's Stefano Garzelli claimed the green jersey for king of the mountains.
You'll find complete results and more photos from stage 21 of the Giro d'Italia here.
Watch daily video highlights from the 2011 Giro d'Italia in the video section here on Roadcycling.com.