We’re the best but RadioShack is not built around me, says Lance Armstrong.
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

We’re the best but RadioShack is not built around me, says Lance Armstrong.

by Ben Atkins at 12:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Lance Armstrong’s new RadioShack team met for the first time for a two-day training camp in Tucson, Arizona this week. On day two Armstrong spoke at a press conference about his and the team’s for 2010.“I’m 38,” he said, according to Wielerflits “so it would be irresponsible to build the team around me.

“We have to go in with a team approach. And at the Tour we have to look at Levi, we have to look at Klöden, and the entire team for the tactics and the ideas that we use.”

With the exception of winner Alberto Contador, all of the 2009 Astana Tour de France team has transferred to the new team. This, says Armstrong, puts them in the strongest possible position going into next year’s race.

"We have the best team in the world,” he claimed. “If you look at the [Astana] team's last Tour, you see that eight of the nine names transferred to Radio Shack. We have everyone we wanted, and we are therefore still very strong.

“We have no leader who outclassed the rest, à la Contador, but our options are certainly good."

Armstrong reflected on his first year back in the peloton, after his three and a half year retirement. He admitted that continuing into next season hadn’t been in his thoughts at that time.

"It's quite a bit different,” he said in local Arizona Daily Star. “That reintroduction into cycling in the beginning of the year in Australia was a bigger shock than I expected. The tempo of the race... the day-in, day-out stuff, was just different — the position on the bike, a lot of things I had a hard time adjusting to. But during that time, I think sitting here a year ago it was a one-year idea, a one-year plan, and I didn't expect to be racing again in 2010. Through that process, despite the rough transitions and the rough days, I still enjoyed it, and I said to myself I want to do it again."

Inevitably the press conference was drawn to the internal conflict with Astana teammate Contador, but he refused to be drawn into criticising the Spanish Tour champion. "The conflict last year,” he said, “that was a personality conflict. Not to say my personality is good or bad, or his is good or bad. It's just different. We're on separate teams now, and I'm sure he's glad he went left and I'm glad I went right. I wouldn't change the experience... It just didn't work out. On the bike, I'll say Alberto is the biggest and the best talent that we have now. As I've said a couple times, might be the biggest and best we've ever seen. Off the bike..."

Having admitted that his mean that he will not be the sole leader of the team, he maintained that his 2010 form will benefit from the racing he did in 2009. "Despite being one year older, I will benefit from the season we just finished…” he said. “We have the best team in the world. If you look at the Tour de France last year, it's safe to say we had the strongest team in the race, but the important thing to understand, of the nine riders from team Astana, eight of them are on Team RadioShack...

“We lack that super, super-high-level favourite like Alberto,” he repeated, “but I like our chances with the strong guys we have."

 

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