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2010 Tour win could also see Texan race on into 2011 to defend title

Lance Armstrong believes he can see off former team-mate Alberto Contador to land an unprecedented eighth Tour de France title in Paris this July, and expects the rivalry between them to intensify now they are riding for different teams.

An evident split within the Astana team was one of the key sub-plots of last year’s edition of the race, with the Spaniard landing his second Tour de France win in three years despite apparently receiving little in the way of help from the rest of his team, several of whose members have joined Armstrong at his new venture, Team RadioShack, whose creation the Texan announced just days before the race finished in Paris.

Speaking to Australian Associated Press following his arrival in the country ahead of the Tour Down Under, where he began his comeback 12 months ago, Armstrong said of Contador: “"All the personal stuff aside, just speaking about the athlete, he's a fantastic athlete, he's a very complete rider."

On the subject of their rivalry, Armstrong claimed, “there's going to be a lot of buzz and build-up about that in 2010, especially now that we've all left to create another team,” adding, “I will let everyone else build that up. I will be ready, I've got to tell you."

The seven-times Tour de France winner, who finished third on the podium in Paris last July despite a three-year absence from the race, believes that he can be even stronger this time around.

"I'm more excited than I was 12 months ago,” he explained. “I feel good about it, I really believe I can [win the Tour de France]," he added.

He also had some advice for those who doubt he can repeat his successes of 1999-2005, stating: "Every time I say it, there's 100 people who say 'no way', just because of my age, but I'm an optimist, so I'm staying there," adding that "if I'm lucky enough to get another one, then I could see racing for another season, which would mean going again in 2011."

Armstrong received an enthusiastic reception from the Adelaide public when he returned to racing in 2009, and said: “As far as Australia is concerned, I loved it down there last year - the vibe of the race, the treatment of the fans, the reception we all had, the support of the local and state government.”

He added: "It's first class and the organisation there really deserves a lot of standing ovations... three or four years ago it was a small race, now it's on the ProTour."

The race starts next Sunday 17 January and marks the highly anticipated ProTour debut not only of Team RadioShack, but also Britain’s own Team Sky.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

15 comments

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Chuffy [201 posts] 6 years ago
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My. Arse.

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demoff [327 posts] 6 years ago
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What? He's talking out of it!

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gandberg [175 posts] 6 years ago
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As if anyone really believed Lance was going to be racing for anyone other than himself. I hope he gets his 8th win. He might be a bit arrogant, but as an athlete you can't fault his determination. Go Team Radioshat.

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Alankk [135 posts] 6 years ago
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It's not arrogant if he has 7 yellow jeresy at home. It'll be another interesting tour this year.

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 6 years ago
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Hmm… if Contador won last year minus the support of most of his team he should be able to repeat the feat this year with a team that will be supporting him from the start, even if they aren't as strong as RadioShack.

Of course that's assuming that Astana are invited. There might be some sort of grim symmetry at play for Contador yet, if for the second time he is unable to defend his title because Astana are told they aren't wanted by ASO especially if the returning Vino regime misses out because of something done by the previous management, just like the Bruyneel version of Astana missed out because of the misdemeanours that occurred under the previous Vino regime.

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gandberg [175 posts] 6 years ago
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I've read a couple of his books and though they play him in a postive light, you still get the idea he was an arrogant sod, prior to his magnificent 7 malliot jeunes.

Can't wait for this years tour again. What a year for sport we have too: Vancouver, South Africa, Rossi and Stoner rubbing fairings again, the Tour, Schumacher.....  1

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DaSy [704 posts] 6 years ago
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I can't believe I'm typing this, but he has surmounted bigger obstacles than being a bit old, you never know!

I was watching a DVD of him whilst on the turbo yesterday, and it showed the point when Beloki went down on that descent with LA right on his wheel, and how he off-roaded it out of trouble, he is a fairly un-pleasant person, but an amazing cyclist. I wait with baited breath for this years tour.

I think fully unleashed, Contador is just too much for anyone out there though. Fingers crossed Astana make it in, but maybe a freak coiffuring accident will take Vino out of the team, just to make it a perfect tour.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 6 years ago
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usual arrogant yank pro. Contador will spank him this year. Simple as that.

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cactuscat [284 posts] 6 years ago
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Karbon Kev wrote:

usual arrogant yank pro. Contador will spank him this year. Simple as that.

you can't discount him because he's arrogant - he's always been arrogant, and that didn't stop him winning seven times, or claiming a podium place last year. Contador *did* look like more than a match for Lance last year, but who knows whether he's upped his game again? He may not win. But I think he'll be a contender.

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sponging-machine [90 posts] 6 years ago
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Arrogance is generally something that goes well with professional sport as it often promotes self-belief in the individual. Armstrong isn't shy at showing off his arrogance though, is he.

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Denzil Dexter [140 posts] 6 years ago
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Nope shy certainly isn't something that you'd associate with him… isn't he going to win the world ironman champs in Hawaii some time soon as well?

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G-bitch [323 posts] 6 years ago
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If only he'd attempt (or attempted) one or two other major tours and the classics eh?! He'd be far less open to such widespread contempt from the cycling community - that's got to have far more bearing than arrogance.

I wouldn't write him off though. In fact, with the aforementioned issues with Astana a possibility, it might even be worth checking out the odds.

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 6 years ago
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Lance was good in the mountains last year, but when he was winning the Tour he used to destroy everyone in the time trials. Last year Contador did the destroying in the time trials, which I found really extraordinary, and Lance was relatively weak. So unless Lance's time trailing really improves this year, I don't think he has a chance.

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 6 years ago
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for me lance will do well because he knows the game better than anyone else. like they always say of footballers, the first two yards are in your head. he never misses a trick, that's why last year he was on the podium and wiggo, who missed that early split, wasn't.

he doesn't have the outright pace to win, i agree with cat1 there. now that we've done away with time bonuses for placings (can we have them back please?) it's all about the mountain tops and the TTs, and he can't do what he used to do. contador's more than a match for him, the schlecks will have upped their game this year too.

any punts on a dark horse? other than albert timmer.

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 6 years ago
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Hardly a dark horse since he's been runner-up twice in three years, but I'm looking forward to seeing if wearing the rainbow jersey makes a difference to the way Cadel Evans approaches the race this year after 2009's disaster.

If it hadn't been for a disastrous wheel change, he may well have won the Vuelta - okay, the race was missing some of the big hitters, but it's still a grand tour - and the attack in Mendrisio was one of the year's highlights.

Not sure BMC have the the depth to support him properly when it really kicks off in the mountains, but I think wearing that jersey will give him that extra bit of self-belief.

Podium, but not on the highest step, I reckon.