Bruyneel: 'Contador is favourite but Armstrong will be better'
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bruyneel: 'Contador is favourite but Armstrong will be better'

by Ben Atkins at 9:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

On the eve of the Tour of Murcia, Johan Bruyneel once again named his former rider Alberto Contador as the big favourite for the Tour de France this summer. But the RadioShack team manager maintains that Lance Armstrong will be better this year than last.

"Contador is the favourite because he has shown that he is above everyone else,” he told Marca. “Lance is better than last year but I still do not know if it will be enough to beat Alberto.”

Once again Bruyneel brought attention to the fact that last season Armstrong was returning to the sport after almost three years of retirement. This year, says the Belgian, Armstrong has a season of racing in his legs which will make him stronger this time.

"This year is different for Armstrong for now he is a rider who is beginning a season,” he said, “whereas last year he had to find out again what it is to be rider. His body was not accustomed to long, hard workouts, and he had lost his benchmarks after having been retired for three years, "he said.

The time trial of the tour of Murcia will be a specific target for the American, says Bruyneel. In his seven Tour victories his supremacy against the clock was one of the cornerstones of Armstrong’s superiority, but last year he found himself eclipsed by his young rival and teammate Contador.

Of the 5’24” that Armstrong lost to Contador in the 2009 Tour, 1’52” was lost in the 56km of individual time trials.

"He wants to test himself in the time trial and get a good result,” he said, “but winning is another matter because there will be other people who are very well prepared."

Armstrong also confirmed that time trial improvements are a big priority in the build up to the Tour, with the current race an important benchmark on the way.

"Murcia is vital for my preparation for the Tour de France", said the seven-time Tour winner, according to Sporza. “In 2009 I made the mistake of not training enough on my time trial bike. This year I will not make that mistake."

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