Much has been written over the past couple of days about the relationship between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, as evidenced in this excellent summary from the BBC:
Lance Armstrong says his Astana team-mate Alberto Contador has “lots to learn” after the pair’s strained relationship finally boiled over.
Contador won his second Tour de France title in Paris on Sunday, with seven-time winner Armstrong finishing in an unfamiliar third.
The 26-year-old said: “My relationship with Lance Armstrong is zero.”
But Armstrong countered: “If I were him I’d drop this drivel and thank his team. Without them he doesn’t win.”
Contador admitted relations between the two were awkward throughout the three-week Tour, with neither prepared to settle for second billing until the Spaniard proved his superiority in the mountains.
“The situation was tense and delicate because the relationship between myself and Lance extended to the rest of the staff,” he said.
“On this Tour, the days in the hotel were harder than the those on the road.
“He is a great rider but it is another thing on a personal level, where I have never had great admiration for him and I never will.”
Armstrong will return to the Tour next year with a new team, Radio Shack, and the rivalry between the two promises to be spicy after the veneer of unity was soon removed at the end of the race.
“A champion is also measured on how much he respect his teammates and opponents,” wrote Armstrong on his Twitter feed.
“There is no ‘i’ in ‘team’. What did I say in March? Lots to learn. Restated.”
I’m not a huge fan of Lance Armstrong, especially when he trots out aphorisms like “there is no ‘i’ in team”, because when Lance was on top, he was the only one on the team that mattered … but, from what I can see, when it became obvious that Contador was the stronger of the two riders, Lance did his duty to protect Contador’s lead, whereas all Contador did was attack and knock his teammates further down the podium, most notably Andreas Kloden.
Tactically, Contador DOES have a lot to learn. The 2010 Tour de France is going to be a lot of fun to watch … this Tour is barely over, and I’m already excited for next year.