Alberto Contador to hang up his ‘pistols’ at the 2017 Vuelta

Alberto Contador has announced his retirement from professional cycling. The 2017 Vuelta a España will be his final race as a professional cyclist.

Contador’s career started with ONCE-Eroski in 2003. It was almost all over just a season later when he was diagnosed with cerebral cavernoma in 2004. The risky surgery left him with a scar across his head that extends from one ear to the other.

Contador returned to racing in 2005 with the ill-fated Liberty Seguros team and started picking up his first victories as a professional. That came crashing down when the entire Liberty Seguros team was implicated in the Operacion Puerto doping case just before the start of the 2006 Tour de France.

Luckily he was one of the few riders from Liberty Seguros to be cleared by the UCI which allowed him to sign with the Discovery Channel team in 2007 as a replacement for the recently retired Lance Armstrong. Under the tutelage of Johan Bruyneel, Contador’s career as a Grand Tour winner took off.

In 2010 his career hit another bump when he endured a year of court cases around the infamous “bad steak” incident at the Tour de France.

Contador holds the record for the fastest ascent of the Alped’Huez climb in the Alps of 37min 30 seconds, breaking the mark held by the late Marco Pantani.