Could new Tour king Contador surpass Armstrong's record?
At 26, Alberto Contador has two more Tour de France wins than Armstrong did at that age, as well as victories in cycling's other “grand tours” – something the Texan never accomplished.
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But after Contador seized control of the race, in part with attacks that weren’t authorized by Astana’s sporting director (and Armstrong pal) Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong gave up his quest for an unprecedented eighth tour crown.Skip to next paragraph
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The two men have much in common, particularly a self-regard and singular focus that verges on arrogance. Armstrong said he was proud of placing on the podium, and that his children probably learned a lesson from their previously invincible dad falling a little bit short. He also said that he’ll probably never get back to his very best, telling the Associated Press in an interview: “Those quick accelerations, and the climbs with the high, high tempo, I probably won’t ever get that back.”
But his actions after the race also spoke volumes. He eschewed the team victory dinner in Contador’s honor to dine with RadioShack, his new sponsor with whom he appears to be planning a return to the top of the podium.
Now Astana’s team of stars is breaking up.
Armstrong will be riding elsewhere next year, and Astana is expected to welcome back Alexander Vinokourov – who just finished serving a two-year ban for doping in the 2007 Tour – as a possible leader next year. He’s Kazakh, and Astana gets most of its cash from a company controlled by the Kazakhstan government.
“Contador could look to join another team – the Caisse d’Epargne squad has been mentioned as one likely destination – yet while such a switch would boost his salary, it would leave him with a far weaker support crew.”
“Even Armstrong admitted that at his sharpest, he has never climbed as swiftly as Contador got up the Verbier in Stage 15.”