I have to say, I would question the merits of Armstrong making a public critical assessment of his teammate. I don't think that has happened in cycling too often...aside from Cunego / Simoni you would need to go back as far as LeMond / Hinault.
Valverde has been strongly criticized publicly twice in the past year. First at the Vuelta when he lost time after going back to the team car to retrieve a jacket by his ds and some of his teammates in the race and second at the World Championships when he was shadowing Bettini and his teammates felt he should have been covering the decisive break. All public criticisms that would have been better served taking place within the confines of the team bus or hotel.
Just because what is said may be the truth doesn't mean that the media is the best forum for it to be presented. Whatever happened to team unity? A unified show of support?
If either Bruyneel and Armstrong were truly concerned with Contador's development wouldn't be in the best interest of his long term maturity and development to have Bruyneel and Armstrong at his races giving him tips on the in's and out's of the sport?
Instead they had to be spurred by Contador, the one that "has a lot to learn", to actually include Armstrong and Contador on the same roster for a race before
the Tour. The original plan was to keep them separate completely competitively until the start of the Tour which in my eyes isn't logical.
Bruyneel was going into retirement prior to the Astana offer. He saw Contador as someone that he could potentially continue his success with. Now that Armstrong is back his focus has most obviously shifted. Who can doubt that had Armstrong not returned to competition, Bruyneel would have been at P-N in charge? Is it possible with the return of Armstrong Bruyneel can now see his retirement coinciding with Armstrong's final season, possibly 2 years away? There is an potential conflict with the power, influence and independence that Armstrong has, earned or not, that minimizes Bruyneel's decision making. I don't think its ever in the best interest of the team to have a rider who is beyond reproach as Armstrong obviously is. Bruyneel is quoted as saying that in so many words "you don't tell Lance what to do, you can only make suggestions."
Those that call all of this simply a bunch of conspiracy theories gone amok are blinded by their allegiance to any and all that is Armstrong. I think in spite of Bruyneel and Armstrong's successes they are capable of making mistakes in judgement.
This is completely foreign territory for the both of them and they are bound to make mistakes along the way in dealing with this situation. It is a positive sign that they heeded Contador's suggestion that Armstrong and he should race together at least once prior to the Tour. The pro-Armstrong contingent will look at Contador's suggestion as a sign of weakness, thinking that his motives are purely selfish and based on his growing insecurities. I personally think it is more along the lines of a rider who is mature beyond his years seeing the need for something that was an oversight on the part of his more experienced director and teammate.
I'm sure Contador knows that he is a work in progress and while his victory celebrations are scripted and rehearsed I think he is more likely a humble and team oriented rider with tremendous talent. The opportunity to race side by side with someone of Armstrong's incomparable skill, tactical sense and experience would appear to me to be of extreme benefit to Astana's long term investment in Contador's development.