Vinokourov believes Armstrong will be no match for Contador in the mountains
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Vinokourov believes Armstrong will be no match for Contador in the mountains

by Conal Andrews at 5:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov has said that barring misfortune, team-mate Alberto Contador will once again beat Lance Armstrong and win this year’s Tour de France.

What’s more, he asserts that providing the Spaniard remains motivated, that he can win the Tour five or six times, thus equalling or exceeding Armstrong’s record of seven Tour wins.

Contador dominated last year’s race, showing he was best of the general classification riders in both the mountains and the time trials. Andy Schleck finished four minutes 11 seconds back, while Armstrong was five minutes 24 seconds in arrears.

Vinokourov expects the Texan to be stronger this year, but still can’t envisage him being quick enough where it counts. “It is a beautiful struggle. He (Armstrong) works hard, but barring an accident, I don’t see how you can beat Alberto in the mountains,” he told Le Parisien.

He is one of Astana’s top riders and feels that apart from his strength, that he can contribute something else to the fight. “I probably know Lance better than Contador does,” he said. “Since 1999, I have been racing against him. I know the secrets to beat him in the Tour.”

However at this point in time, Vinokourov has no guarantees that he will be able to take part in the race. Astana are expected to be there, but he was excluded from the event in 2007 due to blood doping and could yet find he is persona non grata.

He continues to deny those charges, but has indicated that he might apologise to the Tour de France organisers if it helps ensure that he is in the race.

“I’m here to prove that Vinokourov has won [in the past] and won without doping.”

He is currently taking part in the Tour of the Mediterranean, and is well placed to aim for the overall classification in the race. He sits seventh overall heading into today’s stage, just ten seconds off the race lead, and is expected to make his move on either tomorrow’s stage to Biot or Sunday’s concluding leg to Mont Faron.

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