Alberto Contador's hunger knock on the decisive stage 7 of Paris-Nice dealt a fatal blow to his hopes of overall victory, only a day after seemingly seizing the race by the throat on Little Ventoux. Hunger knock. Forgetting to eat. Seems too simple, too silly an error for a racer of Contador's stature. How could this have happened?
I ask this because I don't know, and suspect that someone among you guys does. But ignorance has never stopped me from posting before, so I'll toss out a couple ideas.
1. You don't fully get it until it happens to you. I'm not sure this applies to Contador, but he's only 26, and it's possible he's never bonked in a major stage race during his pro career. This could have two facets to it: he might not have appreciated how debilitating it is, and he might not have known exactly where his threshold was. Cycling demands riders develop a subtle understanding of their body and the delicate balance of energy, strength, etc. Maybe AC has a few more lessons to master.
2. It's simply not as easy as it sounds. In fairness, this is probably a better explanation. When you are depleting your body of some 4,000 calories a day, it's not easy to fully replenish. After a week of these efforts, perhaps there is a cumulative depletion that can be harder to manage, that requires more intensive replenishment than the same effort would in isolation.
3. A third explanation would be that Contador had all of this down, and still managed to blow it. If I'm him, I'd prefer pretty much any other excuse.