July 25, 2010, – Morgan Hill, CA In one of the most hotly contested Tours in decades, Alberto Contador, the Spanish Grand Tour specialist, fended off Andy Schleck in an epic duel between two pre-race favorites—riding Specialized bikes—to claim his third Tour de France victory.
With both men riding virtually identical equipment—the Tarmac SL3, Shiv, or Roubaix SL3 depending on the day—the company was well-represented on the podium, as well as on the road, where Specialized bikes carried the Yellow Jersey a total of 17 days out of 20!
Schleck did not go home empty-handed, however, earning the White Jersey of the Tour’s Best Young Rider for the third straight year.
Contador gained an advantage in the opening prologue, only to see Schleck bounce back on the cobblestones. While both men rode exceptionally well on their 2011 Roubaix SL3 bikes, proving again that “smoother is faster,” Schleck had Fabian Cancellara to pull him home well ahead of the Spaniard.
Contador finally grabbed the Maillot Jaune in the Pyrenées after head-to-head battle on the brutal climbs, and he sealed the deal on the final time trial through the vineyards of Bordeaux, for his third overall victory in four years.
The 26-year-old rolled into Paris on Sunday—decked out in full yellow regalia—to enjoy his hardest fought and most cherished win.
Contador is now in elite company, becoming just the ninth rider in history to reach three overall victories, joining the likes of Greg Lemond, Eddy Merckx, and Lance Armstrong.
But “El Pistolero del Pinto” laughed off suggestions that he’s on the road toward matching the record seven victories.
“To think about matching that hasn’t even entered my mind. I am not looking to equal or beat any records,” Contador said. “I will race year-to-year and aim for specific goals, then we’ll see how things stack up when I finish my career.”
Contador was quick to credit great support from his Astana teammates, including Road Captain Alexandre Vinokourov and the “Four Amigos” who supported Contador through the high mountains.
Specialized products figured prominently throughout the event, as the bike sponsor for five stage victories: two victories each by Schleck and Cancellara, and one by Vinokourov.
Plus, the new Specialized Prevail helmet protected the heads of Team Lampre and their star sprinter Alessandro Petacchi whose “cooler head prevailed” in a hard fought battle to claim the Green Jersey and two individual stages