Martinelli believes Contador is stronger than everyone bar Merckx
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Martinelli believes Contador is stronger than everyone bar Merckx

by VeloNation Press at 4:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Says Spanish rider “is better than Armstrong and Indurain”

Alberto ContadorHaving worked with Alberto Contador when he was part of the Astana set-up, that team’s sporting director Giuseppe Martinelli has said that the rider is better than Lance Armstrong and Miguel Indurain, who between them won twelve Tours.

“Contador is already bigger than those two and you will see when he reaches the end of his career, only Eddy Merckx will be ahead of him,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Spaniard has taken three Tours, one Vuelta and one Giro, and is currently in the Maglia Rosa of race leadership.

He faces a hearing in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport and, depending on the outcome, could lose one Tour title and be blocked from riding the 2011 version.

However if he wins his case and takes another Tour this July, he will be just one off the total taken by Indurain between 1991 and 1995.

Martinelli has said that he considers Contador so strong that he believes it was right that he moved to a bigger team with a more experienced manager.

“Alberto was really too big for me, I felt I had in my hands a treasure, an investment too large to manage,” he said. “When I was a rider I was not a champion, and at this level, that counts for a lot.” He said that in working with Bjarne Riis, Contador now has a directeur who has the necessary experience to guide him.

He believes that he has both physical and mental talents, and that these help him to succeed even when he is not in full fitness. “Alberto has a mind that is out of the ordinary,” he said. “In 2010, even though he was not as strong as now, he has won almost everything. A normal person cannot do what he has achieved in last Sunday [dropping the field on Mount Etna].”

The Saxo Bank-SunGard rider is now 59 seconds ahead of his closest challenger, Kanstantsin Sivtsov, and one minute 41 seconds up on Astana captain Roman Kreuziger. Notwithstanding his admiration for Contador, Martinelli pledges his team will fight on and do what it can to beat him.

“The key to doing this is that one of the contenders must have the courage to risk losing the Giro to try to overcome him. With my Astana I can try,” he said.

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