Noval pledges complete commitment to Contador
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Noval pledges complete commitment to Contador

by Conal Andrews at 7:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Overlooked by Johan Bruyneel for the 2009 Tour de France team, Benjamin Noval is looking forward to returning to the Tour next year and pledges the team will be completely dedicated to Alberto Contador.

“Like many fans, I think the Astana team did not work for Alberto during the last Tour,” he told the Spanish newspaper Marca. “It was not one for all. In 2010, however, I am convinced we shall all pull in the same direction. We don’t have the names that they [RadioShack] have, but ultimately I believe we shall prevail because we are all clear who the leader is, what is the objective and what is our job.”

Noval feels that RadioShack will have the same mentality, backing only one rider, and that it will come down to who is stronger between Armstrong and Contador.

“I am sure that if he goes with possibilities [of winning], neither Klöden nor Leipheimer will have options as Lance will not permit that,” he said, contradicting Armstrong’s recent assertion that he was not the undisputed chief. “Before, when he won it, there were also great riders in the team but he was the only leader. And that’s not going to change, especially as I believe that he will be stronger in 2010 than this year.

“He will be a year older, yes, but if he was able to achieve something worthwhile and surprising this year by finishing on the podium after being away for three years, then in 2010 he will have no other goal than winning the Tour. I am sure that in his head, he is thinking of nothing else. I have no doubt that he will improve, but that does not mean that he will reach the level of Contador.”

The 30 year old will be one of several Spaniards on the team in 2010. Jesus Hernandez and Dani Navarro also return from this year’s squad, while Josep Jufré, David de la Fuente and the 2006 Tour winner Oscar Pereiro move to Astana.

Contador is pleased with the signings, saying that he fully trusts them. This is despite the fact that Noval previously worked for Armstrong on the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams, helping him win the 2004 and 2005 Tours.

He acknowledges the value of that experience, but reiterates that he’s completely behind Contador. “I cannot say anything bad about him [Armstrong], because he was a very important person in my career. In fact, as a cyclist, I know I learned from him…and from Chechu Rubiera.

“But now I owe Alberto, with whom I have a relationship that I never had with Lance, and now I cannot imagine my work as a cyclist without him. I am lucky to be at the side of the best rider in the world.”

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