Lance Armstrong loses big time on day one of Critérium International
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Armstrong loses big time on day one of Critérium International

by VeloNation Press at 8:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium International
 

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong had a bad day at the office in today's first stage of the Critérium International. The anticipated match-up between the American and his former teammate Alberto Contador took an unexpected turn when Armstrong was dropped from the front group of favorites 5 kilometers from the summit of the 14.2 kilometer Col de l'Ospedale.

"It was a tactical and technical climb with the wind. There were a lot of surprises," said Armstrong after the race. "RadioShack can be satisfied with the riders we had up front. I'm happy for Tiago [Machado, 2nd place]. This is a good team result. I wasn't expecting anything different with my form. I haven't done much racing up until now."

The last minute entry of Contador into the race was seen by some as a way to put some pressure on the RadioShack rider, but the Spaniard also suffered on the climb - rather than the problem being with fitness, it was said to have been caused by allergies.

The Astana rider managed to finish close to four minutes in front of Armstrong on the day, after falling off with 2 kilometers to go and riding the line at his own pace. In four months time both Tour de France champions will be looking to add another crown to their collection, and Armstrong wasn't too concerned about today's outcome.

"I'm not disappointed, it's March. If we were discussing this [his lack of fitness] in July, then I'd be disappointed."

His long-time manager Johan Bruyneel also wasn't too concerned about Armstrong's blow up on the final climb adding, "We know that Lance is currently not at his best this time of the season. This was not unexpected, because he hasn't done much real racing. In May and June after he has ridden the Tour of California, Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour of Switzerland, he will be on form. There is still a lot of work, but I am not worried. If anything, I don't doubt Lance's motivation."

Now both Armstrong and Contador will focus on the time trial tomorrow to try to come away from the race with something positive to show.

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