Alberto Contador leaves a legacy of cavalier racing and controversy | William Fotheringham

The Spaniard, who is to retire after the 2017 Vuelta, is one of six men to have won all three grand tours but he departs as an embodiment of the doubts that still underpin his sport

Alberto Contador’s announcement on Monday morning that he will hang up his wheels at the end of the Vuelta a España surprised only for its timing. The question of when and how to quit cycling has been hanging in the air around the Spaniard for almost two years; initially he speculated he might end his career in 2016, but an unhappy spell riding for the Tinkoff team prompted him to hang on for another season.

Contador then speculated he might continue into 2018, before posting an Instagram video on Monday morning in which the 34-year-old stated that the Vuelta would be “my last professional race. I say that with joy, without the slightest sadness. It’s a decision that I come to after mature reflection and I don’t think there can be a better way to say goodbye than at a race in your own country.”

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