Contador with stronger team in 2010
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Contador with stronger team in 2010

by Bjorn Haake at 5:06 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Alberto Contador sees his team stronger for next year because it will be more united. In 2009, there was some infighting between the Contador and Lance Armstrong factions. Ultimately, both riders made it to the podium, with Contador winning the Tour de France.

Contador is optimistic that despite the many riders the team had to hand over to RadioShack - Armstrong's new team - Astana will have a great year ahead.

Contador even becoming friends again with the American, he said at a press conference in Pisa, Italy, on Friday, according to sportwereld. "Never say never. I'll have no problem riding next to him in the peloton and chat with him," Contador said.

The Spaniard even drew positive conclusions from the 2009 Tour. "I learned how to handle stress and difficult situations. The Tour is a bit complicated and you need to know how and where to spend your energy," Contador said. "This all helped me to mature as a rider and to stay calm."

Friends in the peloton

All of Contador's 2009 Tour de France team left to RadioShack, including roommate Sergio Paulinho. Does Contador have any friends left? "There are Benjamin Noval, Dani Navarro and Jésus Hernandez. I trust them 200 percent." Even his initial reservations against a return of Alexander Vinokourov, who returned from a two-year doping ban recently, have vanished. "I have a real good relationship with Alexander Vinokourov. We have known each other for a long time, we know each other's family and we have a much better relationship than some people realize."

Contador's program is similar to this year, with no Classics and a string of shorter stage races, such as the Vuelta ao Algarve, Vuelta Catalonia, País Vasco and the Dauphiné Libéré. "My biggest weapon is my ability to recuperate quickly. That's what I can play in the Grand Tours. I plan only one Grand Tour this year, but if it's not going well in the Tour, I may be able to ride the Vuelta." Contador added that in the future, he will be thinking about the double, either "Tour-Vuelta or Giro-Tour."

Contador had some stress with potentially changing teams, as the situation at Astana was not clear. He also commented on the Bradley Wiggins case, who finally moved over from Garmin to Sky after several weeks in which both teams fought over the British rider. "I think contracts should always have a clause where you can step away for a certain price."

Contador was then asked if he had such a clause in his current contract, which had been the rumor before. The Spaniard confirmed that no such buyout clause existed.

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