Darren Brunsdon is preparing to share his life with a piece of cycling history.
The bike on which Alberto Contador won the 2015 Giro d’Italia, and on which he contested the Tour de France, five weeks later, is about to become a fixture in Brunsdon’s home in South Wales.
An electrical engineer and amateur cyclist, Brundson won Contador’s machine in a competition held by Saxo Bank to raise funds for the Alberto Contador Foundation.
His £10 donation through the JustGiving website has earned him a historic dividend: El Pistolero’s 2015 Specialized S-Works Tarmac.
Happily, Brundson also rides a 54cm bike, and has pledged to retain the Spaniard’s set-up: the levers will remain high on the handlebars and the stem will stay low.
“The front and the rear brakes are the opposite way around,” Brunsdon notes. “That could be fun, when I try to stop somewhere and end up in a bush.”
Like a racehorse put out to pasture, Contador’s machine can expect a quiet retirement in South Wales. Brunsdon says he will ride it “once or twice” each summer, being careful not to leave it unchained outside any cafés that take his fancy.
“It’s almost too nice to ride, but I will ride it,” he says. “It will stay as it is. It’s an amazing machine, to be perfectly honest.”
There is history here too, of course. This is the machine on which Contador hunted down Fabio Aru on the Mortirolo, after the Italian attacked him during a wheel change on stage 16.
It is the machine on which Contador rode into Milan in the maglia rosa five days later, and the machine from which he watched powerless as Chris Froome rode clear to the summit of the Col de la Pierre Saint-Martin en route to a second Tour de France victory.
Contador has a new bike this year on which to seek revenge, having learned that the Giro-Tour double perhaps belongs to a different age. In his final season, he will focus solely on winning the Tour. Brunsdon’s bike will be the last on which the Spaniard contests the corsa rosa.
Henceforth, the bike will feel the heavy roads of South Wales beneath its 24mm tyres, but is likely to remain on an upward trajectory: the Brecon Beacons are Brunsdon’s playground, terrain as savage and beautiful as any in Lombardy or Trentino.
“You can ride right up through the Beacons,” Brunsdon says. “Traffic is one thing you’ve got to look out for though, especially on the windy roads.”
The lot of the professional cyclist, even a champion, is that his bike remains the property of the team and its sponsors. Salaried iders tend to be unsentimental about their equipment, but should Contador spare a thought for his former partner, he can be assured that it has gone to a good home. Brundson has pledged to keep the bike indoors, “in a strong room”. A slice of Giro history is about to take up residence in South Wales.
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