Yeh it is a bit of a weird thing to say.
I guess, many riders that leave a Bruyneel-managed team seem to have a drop in form the previous year. Whether these riders are domestiques or future team leaders at their new team, something happens. Whether its a motivational thing, a change of so many teammates, or something else that can be discussed in le Clinique, I'm not sure. But I guess I just having a feeling he may not be his usual self next year.
It has been mentioned a few times about how he might change with this new team (essentially 2010 Astana is a new team for AC) and I have noted your many comments actually about how AC is not in anyway like the usual people that leave JB's teams as he is a fourtime GT winner. So in a way, we are moving into unchartered territory with this one as we just do not know how the change in team structure will affect Contador. Believe me, i'm more than happy to be wrong about this one. He is a superstar, and i'd love to see him break Armstrongs record of tour wins and even Merckx's record of GT wins.
For all I know, AC will be better next year in this new line up, but as it stands, his results of his career, have been under Bruyneel, so I'm just unsure at this stage how he will go under a new setup. It's not so much JB sitting in the team car, as I believe he wasn't there for the Giro, but it's more about the overall setup of a JB team compared to the new Astana 2010. I tipped him to win early stage races in the season and therefore perhaps lose some of that form come July. But who knows?
Either way, winning 4 GTs in a row is a monumental effort and I have my doubts as to how long he can keep it up to get his 5th in a row. Maybe he wins 10GTs in a row, i'd love to see it!
About the Vuelta, it seems that so many riders are focusing on the Giro or Tour next year, and the Vuelta, IMO, will be won by someone who has an under-par performance at the Tour. Reason being that the Vuelta field will not be as strong as 2009. Like Cadel Evans this year, someone great can easily backup in a grand tour a month later, if and only if, their performance at their previous GT is under-par. Meaning that, say AC has a bad day at the Tour and drops to 5th or 6th, and for some reason, he knows he can't make up a, say, 4min deficit in the final TT. Then he essentially has an additional 3-4 days of recovery in the last week by taking it relatively easier than if he was in a winning position, and can then bounce back in the Vuelta 4.5 weeks later against a much weaker field.
Hope that helps to explain. I don't want to come across as an AC skeptic, becoz i'm not one, but many GT champions have a bad year every now and then, and I just felt 2010 Tour may be a tough one for him. Happy to be wrong on this prediction!