Contador is not being supported by Astana

Mar 11, 2009
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Is it just me or does it look like Astana are not really comitted to Contador? He was totally isolated today at Paris Nice. This would never have happened to Lance. There seems to be a big difference between the team around Contador and the support that Leipheimer had in California. Am I missing something here?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I did not get to see the race so I really have no idea, but I think the weather played a big factor in today's outcome. If you saw any of the ToC, Levi was often isolated on some of the bigger climbs (when CSC attacked in one of the latter stages, for example). Contador will be the leader for the TDF, and the team will committed to him.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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I noticed that too!

Today, Alberto apparently had to struggle BY HIMSELF to get 31st while Popo was 65th and Zubeldia was 74th.

Yesterday, Alberto finished way down in 97th with only a couple domestiques around him, while Popo finished 20th?!

What's up with that? Not usual Astana tactics...
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Yesterday was a bunch sprint. Everyone finished with ST, Contador finished safely near the back (after a close call earlier in the day). TBH, it's not very surprising that Astana lost the yellow today, some of the other squads out there are alot stronger at this time of year. Reserve your judgments until after the Giro/Tour.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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:mad:contadore is getting screwed over by the lance train. He will be left ot fend for himself leading up to the TDF to prove to Astana and mainly Bruynel that he is worthy of lances support which I honestly do not think will happen. if lance wins the Giro the astana team will go for the double no questions asked. The only reason they would not let Contador out of his contract when lance came back is that he would have been a threat to lances 8th TDF
 
Mar 10, 2009
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You guys are completely ridiculous. Unless Contador gets suspended for something, he will be the leader for the TDF. Unfortunately for the "lance-train" fans, I don't see Armstrong improving much more.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Leipheimer and Horner couldn't start do to injuries. The team isn't as strong as it would have been with them.

Rabobank had the advantage of surprise. They rode strong today - Flecha is looking for a win (he needs it).

It was great racing today! Very hard to concentrate at work! I was following the live ticker during a meeting. The guy next to me caught me, but laughed. They all know my addiction.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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The race yesterday was fantastic - I spent two hours last night glued to the box watching the recording of the stage.

Not for the first time in this race Rabobank really shook up the peleton, but to be fair the two Quick Step riders rode strongly at the front as well.

Like others, I was surprised by the lack of support for Contador by his Astana teammates, although I'm not sure you can read any coded T de F messages in their behaviour yesterday! Contador did seem to panic a bit at times though.

At the very least, yesterday's result should lead to some great racing in the mountains later on.

Rgds

Pete
 
A fantastically exciting day at the races, on potentially dull parcours.
Rabo blew Het Volk......sorry Nieuwsblad apart, with the same tactic.
This time, they did it better, but again, Chavanel did a KBK on Flecha.

Contador did an incredible job, to catch the chase group, on his own, but the team were very conspicuous by their absence.

It does make one wonder about who is pulling the strings again....
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Popovych isn't the rider he was before joining Silence. He pretty much did to Bert yesterday what he did to Cadel in the 08 Tour. Also, I might be too idealistic but Chavanel could have let Rabobank take yesterdays stage win knowing he was going to take the overall lead. But I'm far too nice :D

Cheers, lippy
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Astana sent a very weak team to the race. To support Contador in July, maybe only Popovych and Zubeldia would be picked but that's probably it, no?

At the very moment Rabobank hit the front, Columbia were chasing in anticipation of a sprint finish so Astana probably thought they could have a moment off duty as other teams were doing the work but they paid the price for this lack of vigilance. It was windy on Stage 2 and for Stage 3 they should have been alert to the risks.

If anything, yesterday revealed the weakness in Rabobank. They dynamited the peloton but didn't get the win, despite three out of seven riders in the lead. Worse, they let Chavanel win the stage, he took a 10 second bonus for the win. Garate should have been glued to his wheel.

But for the politics within the Astana team, I would not read too much into this, it was a big mistake but does not say too much about July. After all, the way he seems to be riding, Contador could be on Skill-Shimano and still be a favourite to win.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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lippy the lion said:
Popovych isn't the rider he was before joining Silence. He pretty much did to Bert yesterday what he did to Cadel in the 08 Tour. Also, I might be too idealistic but Chavanel could have let Rabobank take yesterdays stage win knowing he was going to take the overall lead. But I'm far too nice :D

Cheers, lippy
Possibly, but were there not bonus seconds for the win. He is probably looking for a good overall which is why he went for them too.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Rabobank had three in the group of seven. They had a strong chance of winning, no arrangements were needed from a position like this.

But there's almost no way Quick Step would gift a win to Rabobank, the rivalry between these teams is huge. Lefevre probably opened a fine wine last night.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Stani Kl&#233 said:
But for the politics within the Astana team, I would not read too much into this, it was a big mistake but does not say too much about July. After all, the way he seems to be riding, Contador could be on Skill-Shimano and still be a favourite to win.
Perhaps. I think if push comes to shove though in a 'willing' team meeting something might gets raised along the lines of:

'At PN you couldn't get it together and made careless mistakes. Remind me why I should be riding for you if your mind wanders at such critical moments?'

Then again perhaps I am romancing a perception of internal conflict when in reality the Armstrong/Contador tea party is held in the gardens of a house of love.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Contador has been riding up front most of the time. Especially in the second stage he was always among the first 20.

I don't know why he missed the break yesterday, but I guess he misread the situation. When Rabobank lost their rain coats only a few riders realized what was about to hit the roads. For most of the peloton however it was a sign that the pace had settled.. the climb was done, now it was time for a sanitary break or to hand in the rain coats.. they were caught by total surprise.

Astana's team sucked though, but when you see their line-up.. it's not that super. The young khazaks won't be much of a help, neither is Schär. And Noval, Zubeldia and Paulinho are real mountain riders.. not the kind of guys for a flat windy and rainy stage.
I only expected Popovych to be there really, and he was ahead of Contador, in the 2nd group.

It'll be interesting to see how well the team stands in the mountains. Even there they may need to rely on help from other GC contestants' teams, like Saxo and Katusha.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
Is it just me or does it look like Astana are not really comitted to Contador?
Because Johan is taking his daughter roller-skating rather than following the race? :)

Contator doesn't look like he needs a lot of help in today's stage!
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Only a few more weeks and they will be riding together. Contador will be number 1 for the tour unless Lance makes it back to his old self and more.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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SteveMedcroft said:
From a race report - "It is still far from being over," Astana sports director Alain Gallopin told..."
Exactly. My guess is that Contador would've never been left so isolated with Bruyneel at the wheel of the team car.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn't read too much into it. The weather and the course itself undoubtedly contributed to the confusion in yesterday's stage. Not to mention that the QS and Rabo squads are in top shape for the classics. We'll see what happens at the Giro/Tour.

As a side note, I was reading one of Cyclingnews' features and came upon this:

http://cyclingnews.com/features.php?id=features/2009/top_ten_classic09

"Armstrong has said the Giro d'Italia is his main focus for this season, after an impressive finish at February's Tour of California. But with defending champion Alberto Contador onboard his squad at the Giro, the Texan might be better off getting the wins he can where he can to help promote his Livestrong cause."

I couldn't find any other confirmation that Contador was planning to ride the Giro/Tour double. Was this confirmed by Astana?
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Saw Contador on Eurosport news this morning saying that he has no problems and really is enjoying having Armstrong on his team. (As if he would say any different though). His DS Gallopin said that he wants Contador to give a good show at PN then lie low until the tour. This would surely mean no Giro?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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no... just not paying attention.

Based upon my reading of liveCoverage, it seems as if RaboBank played a very smart tactical move that caught out many other teams and riders. I seem to recall USPostal/Disco doing the same thing in other (crosswind) races. I think it says more about Popo, Zubeldia et all falling asleep more than a lack of support - admittedly however, the end result is indistinguisable. I'm sure DS Alain Gallopini had some rather strong words for the boys failing to pay attention.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Argon Man said:
Saw Contador on Eurosport news this morning saying that he has no problems and really is enjoying having Armstrong on his team. (As if he would say any different though). His DS Gallopin said that he wants Contador to give a good show at PN then lie low until the tour. This would surely mean no Giro?
Yea, I saw that as well and would be inclined to agree. I wonder whether anyone else has more insight? I don't know whether it would be feasible for Contador to compete in both. (Although he did do the giro and vuelta last year)
 

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