Alberto Contador finally shakes Joaquim Rodriguez

The 2012 Vuelta a Espana has featured a lot of Alberto Contador attacks. In pretty much all of them, he has appeared to tow Joaquim Rodriguez along behind him like a little Spanish caravan in a red jersey. However, today, on stage 17, Contador finally uncoupled his unwanted cargo – but how did he manage it?

Er, I’m not sure, actually. Spanish TV was still mid-siesta, so there’s no footage and then when Contador was asked about it afterwards, there weren’t any subtitles. Rodriguez said that he went ‘on the left’, so we’ll just have to paint ourselves a vivid mental picture based on that extensive information.

I do know that it happened with at least 50km to go and that Contador beavered away with a few temporary allies for most of that distance. Rodriguez had no such luxury. He found himself with hardly any team-mates and had to do a fair bit of chasing himself. Adding insult to injury, Alejandro Valverde cadged a lift and when Rodriguez looked goosed, he attacked him and snatched second place in the process.

Grand Tours, eh? It’s not enough to tear your body apart daily, rebuilding it each night. You also have to do it without blinking. Three weeks of agony and focus and poor Purito loses the whole damn race because he spent five seconds absent-mindedly staring at a hedge or something.