It turns out there are benefits to spending your life hopelessly in love with a megalithic footballing institution - if your name is Alberto Contador and the club in question is Real Madrid.
The Tinkoff-Saxo leader had been the favourite to claim victory in the 2014 Tour de France before crashing heavily during Stage 10 to La Planche des Belles Filles.
Contador abandoned the stage- and the race - with a fractured right tibia. But it seems help is at hand.
The boyhood Madridista has turned to his football team in the wake of the accident, in the hope of being healthy to race in the Vuelta a Espana which begins on the 23 August.
"Alberto Contador chose the Clinica Centro after contacting Real Madrid CF and more specifically Emilio Butragueno, with whom he enjoys a good relationship," said his spokesman.
"Butragueno quickly got to talk to the club's medical services and they in return recommended to consult with Dr. Leyes, a specialist in the type of injury suffered by the leader of Tinkoff-Saxo."
Contador has been a frequent guest at the Santiago Bernabeu in the past, even showing an interest in getting Florentino Pérez involved in cycling.
“Could the club expand to cycling in the future?” he asked during a 2013 question-and-answer with the Real Madrid President. Pérez’s reply was unfortunately not so positive.
"I don't want to lie to you. We could go into the area, but we're not going to do it because it's very expensive. Real Madrid currently works in two areas which cost a lot of money. Our cycling team is your one. We enjoy your victories as if they belonged to Real Madrid," he told Contador.
If Real can cure Contador in time for the Vuelta, the victory will surely be savoured equally by both.Reuse content