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Grand March Dedicated to 24-year-old Hero

Posted July. 31, 2007 03:02,   


A hero was born even amidst a foul doping scandal.

The Tour de France, a three-week cycling race that covers a circuit of areas around France, ended on July 30. Alberto Contador, a 24-year-old Spaniard who had worn the overall leader`s yellow jersey since the 17th circuit, garnered an expected victory.

Contador was in first place clocking in 91 hours 26 seconds across all 20 stages stretching 146km from Marcoussis to Les Champs-Élysées.

Cadel Evans, an Australian who finished second overall, trailed Contador by 23 seconds.

This is the second smallest gap ever in the cycling event’s history, trailing only the seven seconds from the 104th championship which was won by Greg LeMond (U.S.) in 1989.

The Tour de France has been the byword for overcoming the limits of humanity. LeMond, who was shot accidentally with a hunting gun (champion in 1989 and 1990), and Italy’s Marco Pantani (1998), who has a leg shortened by three cm due to a car accident, have worn the yellow jersey that is allowed only to the champion. More than anyone else, Lance Armstrong, an American cycling hero, clinched victory for seven consecutive years starting in 1999 even after suffering from testicular cancer with a less than 50 percent survival rate.

Contador also had his own share of hardships. He collapsed from a sudden cerebral hemorrhage during a road race in Spain 2004. After brain surgery, which removed a blood clot, and much struggling, he successfully recovered and enjoyed the victory.

Contador, the youngest champion behind 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich (Germany) who was 23 years old when he won, also won the white jersey given to the most valuable biker under 25 years old.

Contador said he was pleased to realize his lifelong dream of winning the white jersey. Regarding his victory, Lance Armstrong, who wrote the book he read in the hospital, said, “We have seen the future of international cycling.”