Lance Armstrong not impressed with Alberto Contador's performance
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Armstrong not impressed with Contador's performance

by VeloNation Press at 9:02 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Critérium International

RadioShack's team captain Lance Armstrong wasn't impressed with Tour de France favorite Alberto Contador's performance in this weekend's Critérium International, and said that if the Spaniard's aim was to provoke him, it failed.

"If it was a provocation [against me], then it backfired. If it was a simple schedule change because this race suited him better then that was his prerogative," Armstrong told Reuters.

Both riders had a tough time with the mountaintop finish on Saturday's stage, with Armstrong going out the back first at 5 kilometers to go, and Contador 3 kilometers later, once the attacking began.  The American went into the race downplaying his chances, with the Spaniard making his intentions clear early on, by snatching up two bonus seconds en route to the finish in Porto-Vecchio.

"I expected him to be super yesterday," admitted Armstrong. "I don't know the problem [with Contador], but it did not work out."

Contador said he was concerned with his allergy problems prior to the race start in Corsica, and claimed he had problems breathing towards the end of the 14.2 kilometer climb up the Col de l'Ospedale.  When the pace heated up, he found himself unable to follow.

The final stage of the race, a short 7.7 kilometer time trial, saw the Spaniard finish a strong second place, 2 seconds behind the stage winner David Millar (Garmin-Transitions), with Armstrong a further 17 seconds back.

Both Armstrong and long-time manager Johan Bruyneel have said they weren't too concerned with the time differences.  The American has had mixed results during early season races against the clock in the past, but the question remains as to whether he will be able to step it up a notch above last year's level by July.  The bigger question is whether that will be enough.

There is a chance the two champions will lock horns again before their much anticipated Tour de France showdown and, if it happens, the performances there will be more telling.

"There are two options there, the Dauphine and the Tour of Switzerland, so it might be that there's not another confrontation before July," added Armstrong.

"The drama is good... but what matters is what starts in Rotterdam."

If nothing else, this weekend showed the vital role consistency plays in winning a stage race, and how quickly one's fortunes can change.


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