Saddles learnt this week - albeit from the unlikely source
of the Katusha Facebook page - of the recent nuptials of Alberto Contador and
his childhood sweetheart.
Translating the story (already itself pranged haphazardly
from Spanish into Russian) via a popular online language altering device made
for a startling discovery.
Indeed, it first seemed that not only had Bertie given up
cycling for accountancy, he had taken his anti-meat stance to new alarming
levels by marrying a fisherman while singing the Bayside Boys remix of the Los
del Rio hit song, Macarena.
Of course, this was just a false alarm: Contador had simply
spliced his long-term girlfriend, who rather endearingly goes by the name
The couple, who have been together for well over a decade,
tied the knot in their hometown of Pinto near the Spanish capital Madrid last
Saturday, with Contador finally securing the most important trophy of his life.
Friends from the peloton amongst the wedding guests included
Saxo Bank team-mates Jesus Hernandez, Dani Navarro and Benjamin Noval, and
Rabobank's Luis Leon Sachez. Sources claim Astana's Paolo Tiralongo was not
going to attend until Alberto waved him through.
The Spaniard tried to do the same for Andy Schleck, but the
Luxembourgeois whippet arrived 39 seconds too late for the ceremony after a
mechanical issue with his car. He also needed assistance from his brother Frank
to tie his cravat.
Contador is said to have considered inviting his old
team-mate Lance Armstrong - but relented for fear that the Texan would hijack
the occasion by getting hitched himself on the same day and at the same venue.
Despite early reports to the contrary, Basque beef was not on
the menu at the reception - although rumour has it none of the professional
riders present dared eat a mouthful of the delicacies on offer, preferring to
eat from specially prepared musettes they picked up from team cars outside the
Euskaltel's Gorka Verdugo accordingly fell over the tails of
his morning dress while grappling with one of the musettes, prompting a round
of guffaws - and a shrill groan from Cadel Evans.
Speaking to guests at the reception, Alberto said he was
looking forward to the next stage in married life: "It's going to be my
third grand tour of the year and I expect it to be very hard. I hear there are
two first category mounds on the horizon, followed by lots of descending and
going down, before a punchy up-and-down finish that should prove to be quite a
climax," he said with a grin.
Saddles was not present at the wedding or reception - he was
busy going out on the razz with Robbie McEwen in The Rocks ahead of the Cycling
Australia awards ("outstanding contribution to journalism", since you
ask) - but he can bet that Bertie opened his speech with a sheepish
Later in the evening, a drunken Thomas Voeckler had to be
ejected after a failed attempt to get onto the podium and deliver a speech of
his own. In his absence, Pierre Rolland apparently made quite an impression.
Contador's publicist confirmed that the newlyweds were on
their way to Rome for a short honeymoon. The first choice was Geneva - although
Alberto changed his mind after looking in his diary and seeing 'Lausanne 21-24
November' written underneath the initials C.A.S. and a skull and crossbones.
Droves of local spectators came out to watch the Mr and Mrs
Contador leave in an antique Bentley driven by chauffeur Bjarne Riis. Some
fervent French fans had even painted signs on the road, signs which needed
censoring by the wedding organising committee: 'p's were replaced with 't's so
that the messages in white paint said that Contador was "devoted"
A spokesman for the couple confirmed to the world's media
that the wedding had been a thorough success - the only hiccup coming when a
journalist from Le Monde made a remark about the ceremony happening "too
quickly to be believed".
The spokesman was forced into making a statement that,
although the Contadors were now legally married under Spanish law, they were
still awaiting international clearance from WADA - the World Anti-Divorce
Agency - and the Court of Arbitration for Spousals.