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Want to know why I’ll miss Alberto most of all in the ever-growing attrition list of this year’s Tour de France? Forget the doping talk for a moment and humor me; we all know that everyone at the Grand Tour level is not without suspicion. Let’s just talk about cycling, with skepticism and disbelief suspended. The guy is pure class and grace, on and off the bike. Even when Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel did their best to work against his undeniable ascendancy in the 2009 Tour, he rode to victory in a manner both touching and awe-inspiring. He’s been a stylish and dogged competitor, having won all three Grand Tours at one point in his career; he’s yet to write a kiss-and-tell-all “memoir” uncomplimentary to his colleagues and the sport; he doesn’t have a strident significant other shrilly tweeting ad nauseam, just the love of his life whom he’s known since he was 17; and he doesn’t milk the sympathy card that was the brain aneurysm that nearly ended his career and his life. 

Alberto Contador, your exit from the race has made La Grande Boucle that much less thrilling for me. Cumplidos en su desempeño valiente hoy.

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