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CONTADOR-Alberto049p_hero_073109_roadbikeaction.jpg

Contador to El Pais: ‘A Single Man in Command’

July 31, 2009
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Contador on the podium
(Photo: Yuzuru Sunada)

Interviewed by the Spanish paper El Pais, Alberto Contador quoted Fausto Coppi in the 1949 Giro d’Italia when he spoke of ‘a single man in command.’ The paper paints Contador as a man alone, besieged even by his own team.

Contador said psychologically, the worst day of the Tour for him was the day after Arcalis. Bruyneel and Armstrong criticized him for his move. Armstrong said, ?I have always obeyed the instructions of the team and I have won seven Tours.’ From that point on Contador said he acted as if Bruyneel and Armstrong simply didn’t exist.

Apparentely, other riders loyal to Armstrong also spoke up, but he said he turned to his small cadre of supporters: Paulinho, his mechanic, his soigneur and his brother who serves as his manager. Team staff remained neutral throughout the race.

Contador said that the fact that he gave his press conferences in Spanish was for two reasons. First, Bruyneel believes it is best to speak your native language. Second, it was a line in the sand between Contador and Armstrong, with Armstrong only speaking in English. The Spanish paper accused Bruyneel of deliberately isolating Contador even further by attending only the first press conference with him in Monaco. Bruyneel spun if differently, saying ‘If the questions don’t all come to me than I can’t diminish the role of anyone.’

Contador said when it was time for him to go to the time trial in Annecy that all the Astana support vehicles were being used to ferry Radio Schack VIPs and Armstrong entourage members; he took a hotel car to the start. That was the height of the psychological warfare, from his point of view.

And despite earlier saying Contador’s worst day was the one following the finish on Arcalis, the paper says his worst moment came at breakfast the morning following the stage over le Grand Bornand.

The paper quoted Caisse d’Epargne rider Ivan Gutierrez who tried to offer Contador his bottle when he saw Contador was without water. Armstrong was between them, accepted the bottle, took a sip and passed it on to Contador, who refused the bottle, despite the Caisse d’Epargne logo. Afterwards, Gutierrez went to Contador and told him he offered the bottle.

On the Champs Elysees Contador toasted most of his teammates with champagne, but not Armstrong. A member of another team called it ?a funeral in yellow.’

Contador Declines Astana Contract
Alberto Contador has declined a contract extension offered to him by the Astana team. L’Equipe reported that Astana offered Contador a four-year contract at four million euro per year and sole leadership of the team. Contador’s brother Francisco Javier acts as his manager and admitted it was ‘a rather appealing offer.’ Javier went on to say that, we refuse and that Alberto’s future “wasn’t about money only.”


Wiggins at the Annecy Time Trial
(Photo: Yuzuru Sunada)

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