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Armstrong Hits Back At Contador

July 28, 2009
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Armstrong and Contador continue their war of words
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)


Armstrong Hits Back At Contador

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has hit back following a stinging attack by this year’s Tour winner Alberto Contador. Contador won the Tour de France title for the second time here on Sunday, with US rider Armstrong, who came out of retirement, finishing third. But just hours after collecting his trophy on the Champs Elysees the 26-year-old Spaniard launched an extraordinary attack on his Astana teammate. “My relationship with Lance is non-existent,” Contador told a press conference in Madrid. “Even if he is a great champion, I have never had admiration for him and I never will.”
 
Armstrong, 37, hit back Tuesday, posting on his Twitter feed: “Seeing these comments from AC (Alberto Contador). If I were him I’d drop this drivel and start thanking his team. Without them, he doesn’t win.” The American also claimed the Spaniard has “lots to learn”. Armstrong added: “A champion is also measured on how much he respects his teammates and opponents. There is no ‘i’ in ‘team’. What did I say in March? Lots to learn. Restated.”
 
Contador had compared their relationship to that of Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton during their contentious season at McLaren in 2007. “It was a delicate situation, tense, the two riders who had most weight on the team did not have an easy relationship and that puts the rest of the technical staff and the riders in an uncomfortable position,” said the Spaniard, who also won the Tour in 2007. But “we knew that if we kept cool heads, there would be no big problem,” he said.


After his fourth place finish, Wiggins will now focus on the Tour de France
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)

Wiggins To Focus On Tour
British rider Bradley Wiggins will focus his attention solely on the Tour de France for the next two years in an effort to win cycling’s most daunting race. Wiggins equaled the best Tour finish by a Briton with fourth place at this year’s event and wants to surpass that feat by 2011.

The 29-year-old has held discussions with the British-funded Team Sky being put together by British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford with the intention of winning the Tour. He plans to ignore the track events, which have produced three Olympic gold medals for him until 2012 when the Olympic Games come to London. “A lot has changed now and the obvious path for me is to try and win the Tour de France within the next three years,” he said. “It’s the biggest bike race in the world and finishing fourth has opened up a whole new set of doors for me. What a challenge winning it is and I want a go at it. There will be no track racing for the next two years, it will just be full on for the tour. In 2012 I’ll try and do both, which would be an even greater achievement. I’d like to win Olympic gold and then win the Tour in the same year. I believe it’s possible and can be done.”
 
Wiggins was encouraged by his mental toughness throughout the Tour, an area he feared could undermine his pre-race ambition of finishing inside the top 20. “Usually I find the mental side of it consuming, it really takes it out of you,” he said. “I always thought that I might collapse mentally after two weeks because I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or would suffer lapses in concentration through fatigue, losing contact on a climb. But mentally I held it together very well and I feel like I’ve taken it to another level now. It’s made me think about what I can achieve and has shown what I’m capable of. My success this year has fed my hunger.”


Hincapie suffered through the final stages of the Tour with a broken collarbone
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)

Hincapie Finished Tour With Broken Collarbone
George Hincapie made it through the final stages of the Tour de France with a broken collarbone. This was reveled in X-rays taken on Tuesday. “I got bad news this morning. The X-rays confirm that my collarbone is broken,” said Hincapie on his Twitter page.

Hincapie came down in the seventeenth stage of the Tour and it was initially thought that the rider from Columbia-HTC had only a bruised collarbone. Hincapie then refused an X-ray, knowing that a fracture would rule out a finish in Paris in what might be his last Tour de France.


L’Equipe says that RadioShack wants Andy Schleck, but not Frank
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)

Schleck Linked To RadioShack
French newspaper L’Equipe has reported that Lance Armstrong is attempting to recruit Andy Schleck to ride for his RadioShack team. L’Equipe says that negotiations between Schleck and the new are team are in the ‘advanced stages’ but that Armstrong doesn’t want older brother Frank because he feels Frank will hinder Andy’s progression as a grand tour rider. Despite the reports in L’Equipe it is unlikely that either Schleck will be leaving Sxao Bank before the 2011 season as both Frank and Andy have contracts with the team of Bjarne Riis through the 2010 season.


Rasmussen before the fall
(Photo: Roberto Bettini)

Rasmussen Returns
In his first race back from a two-year doping suspension Michael Rasmussen finished second to Aleksejs Saramotins (Team Designa K?kken) at the Designa Grand Prix in Kjellerup, Denmark. Rasmussen’s return comes two years after he was thrown out of the Tour de France, while leading the race, for lying about his whereabouts in the months leading up the race. Afterwards he was quietly fired from his Rabobank team and fled France. Rasmussen’s lies were uncovered when Italian cycling commentator Davide Cassani, mentioned that he had seen Rasmussen training in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains in June. Rasmussen’s UCI anti-doping whereabouts form had Rasmussen in Mexico at this time.

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