Update: Contador may quit if Armstrong joins Astana- Armstrong to join Astana

Contador may quit if Armstrong joins Astana

by Tony Farrelly   September 23, 2008  

As predicted Alberto Contador's win at the Vuelta on Sunday is already proving complicated for his team Astana. Speaking to the Spanish newspaper AS Contador dropped a strong hint that he would quit the Astana team if it hires Lance Armstrong, who has announced he is coming out of retirement to seek a record eighth Tour de France title. Armstrong has strong links with the current Astana management. Contador was asked by the sports newspaper AS how he would feel if the Armstrong joins Astana. "It would be quite complicated. I think I've earned the right to be the leader of a team without having to fight for it," he said in the interview published on Tuesday. "And with Armstrong, there could be difficult situations in which the team would put him first and that would harm me." Armstrong, now 37, shocked the world of cycling earlier this month by confirming that he was planning an audacious comeback with a view to winning a record eighth Tour de France next summer. Astana boss Joahn Bruyneel, who managed Armstrong as director of the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams, said recently he would "not allow" the American to join another team. Contador who has now won three grand tours in 14 months – a feat which guarantees him legend status now says he may quit the Kazakh-backed, Luxembourg-based team if Armstrong signs on, the American will announce his plans at a press conference on Thursday. "I will base my decision on what he says," the Spaniard told AS. "I intend to stay because I am under contract until 2010, but I have received a good many offers from other teams. "Bruyneel believes I can deliver results, but it can't be denied that he made his name because of his ties to Armstrong." Contador won the Tour of Spain on Sunday to add his victories in the 2007 Tour de France winner and this year's Giro d'Italia. He is now only the fifth rider in history, and the first ever Spaniard, to win all three of cycling's three-week Tours. A feat that in most situations would guarantee him an unassailable position in most teams, but Armstrong is different. Contador's comments to AS are very different from those he made immediately after Armstrong's announcement and suggest his Vuelta win has emboldened him into letting his true feelings on the Armstrong situation be known. Back on 10 September when asked about Armstrong's return he said: "I would welcome (Armstrong) into the team with open arms because a cyclist like him would fit in anywhere," "I have always had the highest regard for him and would be delighted to be in the same team as him."