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10-16-2009, 04:01 AM #1
Year 2010: Contador & Armstrong to renew their rivalry!!!
..okay, maybe this is a bit premature, but the TdF organizer has unveiled the route for the 2010 Tour de France...which will present a new rivalry between Contador & Armstrong...Stay tuned as we shall follow this new rivalry..
Tour de France route to end in the Pyrenees
By SAMUEL PETREQUIN, AP Sports Writer
Oct 14, 10:24 am EDT
PARIS (AP)—Defending champion Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong will play out the next chapter of their Tour de France rivalry against the majestic backdrop of the Pyrenees.
Tour organizers unveiled the 2010 course on Wednesday, with Armstrong and Contador attending the ceremony in Paris. The race will start with a 5-mile prologue on July 3 in Rotterdam, Netherlands and a final stage on the Champs-Elysees wraps ups a 2,234-mile ride.
The pair worked together as Astana teammates during this year’s race, and the Spaniard won the Tour for a second time while Armstrong finished third.
The route of most prestigious three-week cycling race will recreate the first crossing of the Pyrenees 100 years ago with four stages in the daunting mountains that form the border between France and Spain.
Contador and Armstrong shook hands at the Palais des Congres during the ceremony but didn’t exchange a word.
“They’re already writing the script,” Armstrong said of the rivalry with Contador. “It’s good for cycling. I think he and I could do without it, but I think its good for the event and good for our sport. For sure the build up to the tour, from April to May to June and to the start, it’ll be really intense.”
The 38-year-old Armstrong left the Kazakh-funded Astana team to launch his own squad after last year’s race. The RadioShack team has yet to be granted a ProTour license.
Astana manager Johan Bruyneel, the man behind Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories, confirmed he will join RadioShack this season. He said he was confident the UCI will deliver its license soon.
Armstrong didn’t give his opinion about the route for the July race
“I was never one to say I like this Tour, I dislike this tour,” Armstrong said. “It’s the Tour. The best man always wins and you always do the Alps and the Pyrenees and you always have some demanding time trials.”
In 1910, Tour riders climbed the four legendary Pyrenean passes— Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque—a feat their modern heirs will repeat next July. The Tourmalet, one of the toughest climbs in cycling, will be scaled twice.
“With the celebration of the first crossing of the Pyrenees, it’s logical that the Pyrenees will be harder than the Alps on this Tour,” race director Christian Prudhomme said.
The course will include a total of 23 mountain passes in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and Massif Central, three more than this year.
In between, riders will go through Belgium and tackle six mountain stages including three hilltop finishes and four medium mountain stages. The only individual time trial will be the penultimate stage in the Bordeaux vineyards after organizers decided to scratch the team time trial from the program.
“We wanted to make sure that anything could happen anywhere,” said Prudhomme, who was disappointed by this year’s scenario, when all the favorites neutralized themselves for the biggest part of the race.
Tourmalet is a nearly 7,000-foot peak that has been climbed more times (73) than any other in Tour history. But only once has it hosted a stage finish—in 1974, when French rider Jean-Pierre Danguillaume beat a field that included Eddy Merckx to the top. That year was also the last time Tourmalet was climbed twice in one Tour.
Contador says he’s looking forward to the demanding route.
“The route is better than last year’s because there are more mountains,” Contador said. “And finishing with the Tourmalet is great for me.”
The last time the Tour sent the riders over all four of the Pyrenees’ most punishing ascents in that order was the 17th stage in 1969.
That epic race involved Merckx taking off on an 87-mile solo breakaway, finishing first at Mourenx after crossing the peaks of Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque on his way to the first of his five yellow jerseys.
In 1910 when the race first ventured into the Pyrenees, the 10th stage was a 203-mile journey over the four peaks. French rider Octave Lapize won that stage and went on to win the race.
Lapize’s judgment of the course’s designers has become part of Tour legend: “You are assassins, yes, assassins.”
Nicknamed “The Circle of Death,” the combination of the four big mountain passes was also crossed in the 1926 Tour. Like in 1910 and 1969, the winner of that stage, Lucien Buysse, went on to win the Tour.
The first stages of next year’s race will pay tribute to two of the most prestigious classics—Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Roubaix—with riders going through seven cobblestone sectors over a total 8.2 miles in the third stage between Wanze, Belgium, and Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, France, on July 6.
It will be the first time since 2004 that riders will have to handle cobblestones, a difficult task that dashed Spanish rider Iban Mayo’s hopes of unsettling Armstrong that year.
“We don’t put cobblestones for riders to fall, but to make a selection,” Prudhomme said. “There will be 11 kilometers of cobblestones in the last 30 kilometers. There will be some damage.”
Bruyneel said this stage won’t be a threat in Armstrong’s quest to win an eighth Tour.
“He feels good on this kind of stage,” the Belgian said. “For him it’s not a problem at all.”
Associated Press writer Greg Keller in Paris contributed to this report.
10-16-2009, 06:01 AM #2
Should be another interesting race. But let's not characterize it as a simple two-man race. The TdF is most interesting when there are many riders who have a chance to win. The drama from day to day is more intense when people are looking over their shoulder for several rivals.
10-16-2009, 02:12 PM #3
..there will be a few other main challengers...But, at the end, the spotlight of next yr's TdF will be on the rivalry between Contador & Armstrong..
Last edited by ctjcad; 10-16-2009 at 02:14 PM.
10-17-2009, 12:26 PM #4
i think the schlecks and contador should be able to handle the climbs better. lance has the experience but with age i don't know how he'll fare after yet another year. cobblestones? well, any of them pros who's got about 5 years of all around riding shouldn't be bothered that much at all. If it gets slippery, they got the proper conditions gear for it and the tactical formation/protection in place to handle their rivals.
my take is, like all past greats, they had their time and fun under the sun. so 7 is a great number already. why bother? b'cos he's still got that competitive juice in him? or maybe, lance just wanted to really put it away for good by collecting #s 8,9 & 10?
let's see his team first...
lance really should've done the vuelta, giro and le tour in his prime like all greats did (at least 3 years in a row)!
Last edited by MetalOrange; 10-17-2009 at 12:28 PM.
10-17-2009, 02:04 PM #5
^^The young guns vs. the older legend..^^
- The younger top riders, if they keep riding, the Schlecks & Contador, will battle it out for the next 10 yrs. No doubt.
- As for Armstrong, i think a lot of his current comeback has to do with his mindset, passion and hunger for competition. That's already half of the battle or even more than half of the battle. I mean, without that hunger, desire to ride and compete vs. the young guns, i doubt he'll want to make a comeback and continue on.
- Lance's team? Well, i don't think it's final yet, but here are his old/new Radioshack teammates. About 1/3 of them came from Astana, including all the veteran riders. Contador will be riding w/mostly a younger group of teammates:
Sam Bewley (NZL) - Trek-Livestrong U23
Janez Brajkovič (SLO) - Astana
Matthew Busche (USA) - Kelly Benefit Strategies
Ben Hermans (BEL) - Topsport Vlaanderen – Mercator
Chris Horner (USA) - Astana
Andreas Klöden (GER) - Astana
Daryl Impey (RSA) - Barloworld
Markel Irizar (ESP) - Euskaltel–Euskadi
Levi Leipheimer (USA) - Astana
Geoffroy Lequatre (FRA) - Agritubel
Tiago Machado (POR) - Madeinox - Boavista
Jason McCartney (USA) - Team Saxo Bank
Sérgio Paulinho (POR) - Astana
Yaroslav Popovych (UKR) - Astana
Grégory Rast (SUI) - Astana
Sébastien Rosseler (BEL) - Quick Step
Ivan Rovny (RUS) - Team Katusha
José Luis Rubiera (ESP) - Astana
Bjřrn Selander (USA) - Trek-Livestrong U23
Gert Steegmans (BEL) - Team Katusha
Tomas Vaitkus (LTU) - Astana
- Armstrong could've done those 3 GTs, but i doubt he'd accomplish 7 straight TdFs. I think he considers 1 TdF = 1 Giro & 1 Vuelta. Armstrong did the Giro this yr simply for his TdF preparation.
Anyway, we'll see what he's got next yr as some people mentioned he didn't really get a full preparation as he was out for 3.5 yrs, thus we didn't see his full potential.
Last edited by ctjcad; 10-17-2009 at 02:10 PM.
10-18-2009, 12:35 PM #6
well, before roger federer won roland garros this year, talks are that he still needs roland garros to be considered an all-time great. now, arguably some lesser guys would say if they were to win only one of the slams, they would highly consider wimbledon as number 1.
so, let's say tdf is like wimbledon, however, lance still needs the giro and vuelta just like andre agassi did to make him complete. look at pete sampras, 14, great, but! well, eddy and bernard doesn't really think lance highly solely b'cos he didn't embark on a rigorous schedule the way they did. and ac had already won the giro and tdf in the same year.
thus, since lance wants another (or 2 or 3 ) crack at it (i hope he has the best team assembled thus far) given he's got talented pool of riders in his team, he should maybe commit to rounding the big 3 in one year? huh! don't you think? you know, silence his detractors.
btw, though some of the big name astana riders are coming to radioshack's fold, i just thought they are a bit older. yes, experience matters but younger riders like ac and a.schleck too are experienced beyond their years.
10-19-2009, 02:43 AM #7
^^What is an all-time great cyclist??..^^
- Tennis, IMO, is not the same and as demanding as cycling. I know there are many tennis players who haven't won all 3 big tennis tourneys, yet they're still considered one of the greats. So, if they don't have the complete set, should we take off their "one of the greats" label??
- Eddy and Bernard might think Armstrong is not an all-time great just because he never won the Giro and Vuelta. But, according to Armstrong, winning 7 straight TdF probably trumps winning the Giro and Vuelta. Maybe he doesn't really care for those 2 races. Maybe he's already satisfied with the bragging rights of winning 7 straight TdFs..;cool:
Btw, Contador only won the Giro and Vuelta, not the TdF, in the same yr (2008).
- I don't know if competing in all 3 races in 1 yr and/or winning the Giro and Vuelta will silence Armstrong's critics/detractos. What's probably gonna happen is more of the same French doping agency critics will surface & question how in the world is Armstrong's able to race in 3 of the biggest races, all in 1 yr.
Armstrong's new/old teammates will most likely stay & stick with Armstrong until who knows when he'll call another retirement; even Johan Bruyneel jumped ship from Astana.
- Of course, Contador and the Schlecks are experienced riders. I'm referring to Armstrong's teammates unlike Astana's/Contador's new set of teammates which are most likely younger. I always thought pro-cycling races are both a team (to protect the leader) as well as an individual effort. As a matter of fact, i don't recall any recent champs which lack strong supporting riders.
Last edited by ctjcad; 10-19-2009 at 02:46 AM.
10-19-2009, 01:07 PM #8
i agree on most of your points. i started watching during the lemond years and he came back after a shotgun accident and went on to win back to back and collecting 3 in all. Now, 3 is great in a particular sport or any sport. then, miguel did the undoable, won 5 straight...so, don't get me wrong. lance's 7 is the current gold standard by any measure on the saddle.
yep, miss that one re ac collecting the giro and vuelta in 08, he could've cleaned everybodys locker had astana not been embroiled in doping that same year but he promptly collected tdf in 09.
i don't know man but i really love this discussion and am eagerly anticipating for next year's tdf. i was really happy when he got 7. however, i am really excited to see how ac will do...you know, i don't want another bjarne riis or jan ullrich (though they were there a number of years)...i want more merckx, hinault, lemond, indurain and armstrongs--you know what i mean.
did you watch ac ran out of gas (at one of the stages) at the tour of paris in the earlier part of 09? that's what bothers me, i dont want the next up and coming champ(s) to be just another brick on the wall. i'd like them to be the wall, it's more fun, don't you think?
frankly speaking, i thought when johann assembled the team he should hv a clear numero uno; he must've hv seen "it" coming and he thought better--that he can impose his will--wrong! he should hv anticipated ac was not taking numero dos before it all started. end result, he was the laughingstock of tdf 09--poor team management.
Last edited by MetalOrange; 10-19-2009 at 01:21 PM.
10-19-2009, 02:42 PM #9
^^TdF is the gold standard...absolutely..^^
- I think why TdF is such highly respected and the most prestigious is perhaps because it is the oldest race in pro-cycling history. I would think a rider would take 1 TdF title, anyday and anytime, even if he never won a Giro or Vuelta.
- Hmm, not sure abt Contador "cleaning everybody's locker" if Astana wasn't banned last yr. Do you know how difficult it is to even compete, let alone win, in all 3 GTs in a 1 yr period?
Giro and Vuelta have abt a 3 months gap in between.
- The way i see it, the return of Armstrong has spiced up the pro-cycling world. Yeah, sure, there will be arguments from both sides, pro and cons of his return. But in the end, don't you prefer/enjoy this kind of mini-rivalry?
- No, i did not watch the Tour of Paris this yr. That's the reason why it's nearly impossible for a rider to compete, let alone to ask them to ride, in all 3 GTs all in a yr calendar. There's a lot of preparation for each race and riders tend to focus their training for a specific race.
- Are you referring to the just ended TdF?? Johan did mention who was the #1 rider for Astana prior to this yr's TdF. But partly, i think Contador had a mis-perception when Armstrong joined the fold and sort of felt insecure. It turned even more interesting when the race heated up in the mountains.
Partly also, i think the media had something to do with hyping up Armstrong's return.
I don't know if Johan became the laughingstock of this yr's TdF if simply by the mini-spat between AC & LA. IMO, he handled it well & the best he could. After all, Astana, as a whole in this yr's TdF, kicked every other team's behind; well, all of his teams have kicked every other team's behind for the last decade or so??.
Last edited by ctjcad; 10-19-2009 at 02:46 PM.
10-19-2009, 03:51 PM #10
...yeah, that's right he is/was the laughingstock b'cos of so much success prior. well of course, la should be numero uno, it's just that ac was able to assert himself and humiliate bruyneel and lance to a lesser extent (3rd is no joke after a comeback!). So Johann has to take it any which way.
hey, of course it is going to be fun and i don't think it is only a mini-rivalry. even a.kloeden in radioshack could run his show if lance as so much blinked! then, there's the schlecks and ac. plus cancellara, husvold, cavendish, wiggins & millar. i mean it is a better 2010 already based on 2009's showing.
personally, i still think (doping or no doping allegations) lance should just do the big 3 and clean them up! what's the use of assembling the best team ever and not utilise them to the full? from his tentative team, i can see that they can already protect him in all of the big 3s already. so, why not go for the big bang? once and for all? yeah it's hard, but they are more than seasoned veterans and they can take turns in taking the punishments to the ultimate climax!
10-19-2009, 04:17 PM #11
^^Should Armstrong & his team go for the big bang??..^^
- Contador, not Armstrong, was the favorite going into this yr's TdF. It was his race to lose. LA was not supposed to be numero uno for Astana, simply because it wasn't his team. Johan and Lance knew that. They knew it was Contador's team and the de facto numero uno.
For next yr, it'll be a different story. Johan and Armstrong will be in the spotlight and could be the laughingstock should they not finish #1 or even on the podium.
- If Armstong blinks next yr, then i doubt anyone else from team Radioshack can win the TdF. IMO, there are other riders, other than Kloden, who are capable of coming in 2nd behind Armstrong in his team (e.g. Leipheimer, Horner).
- Sure, they could do those 3 races, all in 1 yr or over the span of 2-3 yrs. The big question is, would they all commit? I think it requires a cohesive agreement on the rest of Armstrong's teammates to commit and put in the same amt of time to prepare for the other 3 races. If Armstrong wants to participate in all 3 races but only less than half of his teammates are on the same boat as him, then i doubt it'll come to fruition. Would they do that?
- I'm up for the idea Astana & Contador take the initiative and compete in all of the big 3, first, starting next yr? Just to simply prove that he is actually the number 1 rider in the world.
10-19-2009, 04:32 PM #12
UCI says ac already is on top of the world.
let's see. but i think leipheimer had his time and he was there and thereabouts. kloeden, could be the man.
ha ha, this is fun already.
and no...if bruyneel and lance can not make it next year (win it all), they won't be the laughingstock, because nobody wins it all. but who manage team astana in 09--johann--so he has to man-up or woman-up. lance still did great with 3rd.
true, it has to be a team commitment to do giro, vuelta and le tour...that could prove daunting. man, i just really really hope it will be done sooner rather than later. you know, ala triple crown in horse racing.
heck, lance should do the triple crown. he's been pestered all along his 7 TDFs with allegations. just say: this 3 is for you guys!
Last edited by MetalOrange; 10-19-2009 at 04:35 PM.
10-19-2009, 05:15 PM #13
- Kloden took over when Leipheimer fell and was out of the race (after stage 12). Leipheimer was right there behind Contador and Armstrong until he suffered the fall. And yes, i do think he still has it in him.
- I still don't quite get it with Johan being the laughingstock. And this comment "if bruyneel and lance can not make it next year (win it all), they won't be the laughingstock, because nobody wins it all. but who manage team astana in 09--johann--so he has to man-up or woman-up. lance still did great with 3rd."...the last time i checked, his team, Astana won the TdF???..
Johan could be the laughingstock, then, should Lance & team Radioshack don't win or don't end up on the podium in next yr's TdF?
- As for the triple crown comparison, i'll let Contador and his team do the honor, first..
Last edited by ctjcad; 10-19-2009 at 05:22 PM.
10-19-2009, 05:47 PM #14
well, jb didn't handle the situation well b'cos he had ulterior motive like, he thought he is team mgr so he can weave his way thru, get la a nice comfortable box seat, protect him and assault at the proper time and when la takes the lead naturally ac has to follow the leader but ac wasn't born yesterday and he knows it's time for him to shine so he embarass jb (not lance) by disobeying team orders and destroying lance at the climb to prove who is maestro.
dissobeying? what does it say of jb? that he is not respectable, that ac can show jb why what he said meant zit. so up and away he went along with the title,
hey, hey, hey. let's not get this out of hand. i just think jb did poorly. la did great after being retired a while and ac did himself proud. who's the duck? jb. you know, i love la--don't ever think i don't--it's just maybe the time to let others have their fun under the sun. it's like when mj unretired a second time, as much as i liked him, i knew he is not his airness no more.
10-19-2009, 06:02 PM #15
the truth of the matter is, when la retired. i totally stopped watching. started again just this year.
as for ac doing the triple crown, well, he's got the time.
lance got maybe a year or 2 or 3, so definitely he should whip himself and his team in top shape to hit top gear and claim the big 3. frankly, he has to do the honors of delivering 3 in a year to silence everyone.
Last edited by MetalOrange; 10-19-2009 at 06:08 PM.
10-19-2009, 06:17 PM #16
- Like i mentioned, Contador was the numero uno rider in the team and he was expected to win. Yes, there was a bit of biased on Johan's side for Armstrong and both Armstrong and Contador were assigned as team captains.
But where did it mention Johan controlled the race & wanted Contador to follow the leader? As a matter of fact, Contador was ahead of Armstrong even after the 1st stage. Armstrong took over briefly, sure, but Contador took over in the initial mountain stages and extended the lead even more in the latter mountain stages. In all, it shows Johan let them duke it out esp. at the mountain stages.
- IMO, it ain't matter if either Contador or Lance won this yr's TdF. At the end of the day, Johan got the best of both worlds and would be the one smiling w/a wide grin. Wouldn't you like to be in his shoes??..
If Johan wants to prove his worth, then he should prove it in next yr's race.
- Btw, Contador's new teammate is Astana's old rider, Alex Vinoukourov. He mentioned he's supportive of Contador as Vino will be basically running the whole show as rider-cum-manager. We'll see how it goes in that team..
- Off topic: When Air Jordan unretired the 2nd time, he came at the wrong time and with the wrong team. He thought the Washington Wizards were the reincarnation of Da Bulls.
Last edited by ctjcad; 10-19-2009 at 06:28 PM.
10-20-2009, 12:09 PM #17
true man jb got the best of both. but the ridicule of insubordination can never be cancelled out. yep, team astana won, but! and no i wouldn't want to be in jb's shoes. i want to be the rider who saddled the win! it's like phil jackson or mj (though phil's got 10 rings now--he is not in the same page by any breath).
i believe there is not much point if la wins another 3 but it would mean a lot if he did the trifecta. i mean, he doesn't need to prove he can win another tdf; we all knew he can besides nobody's been into seventh heaven but la! so trifecta is it. otherwise, poeple would say, yeah but we already knew he is the man.
the usual suspects aside...i'd root for b.wiggins to up it a notch enough to be in the running for the tdf crown!
andreas over levi (rankings wise).
...thor and mark pushing each other to the max--man, what a great show, unbelievable!
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