Immaturity will be Contador's downfall...

Mar 10, 2009
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...and will be the key factor for his losing of the tour...


Contador’s shot across the bow: Yellow jersey attack falls short, but sends a signal

By Andrew Hood
Published: Jul. 10, 2009

Contador shows his hand. Can we expect more of the same?


Alberto Contador just couldn’t help himself on the beyond-category steeps of the Arcalis summit high in the Pyrénées in Friday’s seventh stage.

The 26-year-old is a natural born climber and, when he sees a road turn uphill, he’s going to do one thing: attack, even if that means attacking Astana teammate Lance Armstrong and defying team orders.

“There were no instructions from the car (to attack),” said Astana team boss Johan Bruyneel. “We wanted to try to maintain our collective strength and wait for the attacks to come. Those attacks didn’t come.”

Astana was firmly in control in the decisive late stages of the 224km stage, throttling at the front of the pack, with six friendly jerseys among a group of about 20 halfway up the 10.6km Arcalis climb.

No one yet dared attacks against such superiority in numbers and Armstrong was poised to slip into the maillot jaune for the first time since 2005, starting the stage just 0.22 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara.

Yet Bruyneel was putting the brakes on the Astana train, even with Cancellara flagging off the back, because it’s too early in the race to have to carry the weight of the yellow jersey all the way to the Alps.

The Belgian director was telling the troops to ease the pace and allow Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) to stay clear from the all-day breakaway and snag the maillot jaune instead.

But Contador had his own plan.

With just over 2km to go, Contador, who started the stage third overall at 19 seconds back, bolted out of the pack in a daring bid for the yellow jersey.

The acceleration came after the first opening jabs by Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), two moves that Contador used as his trigger. Jurgen Van Den Broeck, one of Evans’ helpers, inexplicably attacked off the front and that was all that Contador needed.


Contador disappeared up the narrow switchbacks, leaving Armstrong to mark the wheels of the counter-attacks that never came.

Armstrong didn’t hide his disappointment when he said Contador’s acceleration wasn’t part of the team’s script for the day.

“It wasn’t really to the plan, I didn’t expect him to go with the plan, so that was no surprise,” Armstrong said. “It was windy, so it was hard to go alone. Like I said, I wasn’t surprised.“

Contador hammered alone and didn’t find any company. Andy Schleck tried to follow Contador, but he found the strong winds too heavy for his lanky frame and quickly decided to find refuge in the pack of about a dozen favorites.

“In my opinion, (Contador) had a little advantage with the cars and motorcycles in front of him. I was 50 meters behind and I had all the wind in my face,” Schleck said. “It’s not his mistake, but something the organization should look into.”

Armstrong lived up to his word and didn’t chase from behind, staying with the other favorites as he said he would even though the maillot jaune was there for the taking.

“I said all along, I have my obligations to the team,” Armstrong said. “When you have a teammate up the road, you just gotta stay on the wheel – that’s bike racing.”

Contador said he was responding to attacks from his rivals and was not trying to gap his teammates, but he admitted that the strong headwinds short-circuited his bid for yellow.

“We were waiting to see how the race unfolded and we saw Schleck and Evans moving, so I wanted to try. The time differences were small, but it’s good for what lies ahead,” Contador said. “In balance, this is good for the team. I don’t think this changes anything within the team.”

Contador’s gamble backfired and the spindly climber was stymied by fierce headwinds and fell six seconds short of taking yellow. Armstrong slipped into third at eight seconds back.

By attacking contrary to the team’s strategy, he publicly snubbed his nose at Armstrong and all but confirmed that speculation of behind-the-scenes division within the team is true.

Had Contador succeeded in grabbing yellow, he would be protected by the prestige and honor that comes with the race jersey. Now Armstrong will have no reason to hold back if he feels he has the legs to attack.

The escalating tension will push Bruyneel’s balancing act to the limit. While he hasn’t publicly declared his allegiance to either rider – he insists that he simply wants Astana to win the Tour -- it’s obvious where his heart lies.

“It’s very exciting (having Armstrong back on the team). This is something special. I cannot describe it in words. We have gone through so much together,” Bruyneel told Fox Sports of Australia after Friday’s stage. “To have him back on my team and at the front in the Tour is just so special. To see him back at such a high level is just amazing.”

Armstrong, meanwhile, keeps getting stronger by the day and said the relative ease of the Arcalis climb coupled with strong winds made it less than ideal for a major attack.

“I didn’t expect a demonstration like we saw in some of the other years on the first mountain stage. The wind wasn’t conducive,” he said. “We’ll have plenty of days at the end of this Tour when there’s not such a big group and there are only a couple guys together.”

“The team is good,” Armstrong said when asked about Astana. “The team won’t be the problem.”
 
Jul 7, 2009
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This is the best write up of that stage I have seen so far, read it last night and nodded all the way through.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Yeah... Contador doesn't have the experience to win a Grand Tour...... oh wait.... :rolleyes:
 
I still don't understand how Armstrong's joining the split in stage 3 and gaining time on other GC rivals was laudable tactically, but Contador attacking in the montains to gain time on other GC rivals was "going against the plan."

Please clarify. Wasn't Friday just as good--if not better--for Astana's chances to win than the freak split on the falt stage?
 
Jul 11, 2009
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Just another typical example of how LA can do no wrong, and how AC is out to try and win the tour for himself.

Ummmm, duh, no sheet.

But lets reverse everything, if AC gained time on stage 3, with his teamates driving it home and LA going by himself yesterday and gaining time. Well the media/fanboys would be having a field day, Stage 3 would be selfish AC tries to hurt LA by driving the pace with his teammates, and Stage 7 would be LA true tour hero, the class of the field would be the media headlines.

LA was my hero, and I was firmly behind him for his seven victories. But this whole thing is really making me gag on the BS being spewed by LA and the media. Sorry LA, you quit and left, AC then became the man and IS the man now. Alot of this is just making me feel like your tarnishing your reputation. I truely hope that AC goes out and annihilates you ever chance he gets now.

Your ego has truely grown bigger then your skills, very very sad. You want a grand tour triple winner and THE team leader to bow down before you just because you decide to come back, and when he shows his skills, you play the media spin to make it sound like he's a crappy teammate. But when you do it, you make AC sound like an amateur because "He should have been more aware". Give me a break dood.
 
Will Bobby Drivel be starting a "Will Old Age be Armstrong's Downfall?" and cut and pasting another load of regurgitated tosh?

Telling the troops to ease off??? What, The Hog now commands the entire peloton, with sheer will power?

Contador’s gamble backfired...as opposed to Armstrong's on stage 3.

More fanboy myopic journalism.

If Mr Hood (how apt) had watched Evans and Contador at last month's Dauphine, he might have had a clue as to why the stage panned out in this fashion.
 
Jul 11, 2009
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So this is where everyone went to escape Flyer is it.:D

As I suspected, the mountain stages in the final week of the tour will be where the tour is won, Contador's acceleration yesterday was quite impressive however having read quite a bit on Armstrong's thoughts, I think he is targeting his form to improve over the course of the tour, peaking in the final week, if Contador has less than 30 secs going into the ITT stage, he will lose the tour, either there or on the Ventoux.
 
Yes because Contador came to a team with the best stage racer in the peleton and has thrown a hissy fit in the press because said racer is (gasp) not showing enough deference and actually trying to win the race. What an immature little brat he is! Perhaps we can send him to his room for a couple of weeks! :rolleyes:

So sick of this nonsense. If LA wanted to be the team leader he should have formed his own team or went to a team that didn't have a designated leader. He created this situation, so suck and play his role as super domestique.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Bobby Drivel - you were out with all guns blazing when Lance made the break in Stage 3 and you've been quite for a while. Did it take you that long to come up with more drivel? Did you really think Contador would turn over and concede when Armstrong joined Astana? He is a three-time GT winner, one of only five cyclists to have ever achieved that feat, and defending his TdF title (because he couldn't ride last year). Bruyneel said there was no plan for yesterday's stage - so how can Contador not play according to the plan when there was no plan? Contador, like Lance, is there to win. As many have said, the strongest man should be leader and, with Astana's team, eventual winner. Contador is a better ITT and a better climber than Lance. He is the strongest and Lance should support him rather than divide the team. Lance did play a good support role yesterday by covering potential counterattacks after Contador made his break.

Regardless, Dimspace should award you yet another pointless thread award.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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jaylew said:
<Sigh>...was it really necessary to start a new thread for this?

There is already a thread discussing this exact issue. Personally, I thought it was a poorly written article when I read it originally.
Thank you for your opinion, however I think it's a very revealing article that sheds light, based on some facts, on a situation that most people are not aware of, specifically what JB had to say. If you have some "insider" info on that stage or any other, please share.

AC has issues with authority figures. Look at his up bringing... he dropped out of school. Doesn't like to be told what to do. If he loses the tour it will be because he is not a game player. He still doesn't know the mechanics of how it works because he perceives himself as always being in the driver seat. He's a dang great bike rider but this is a team sport for this race. That is his big mistake on this team and it showed by an ill advised "short" attack into the wind on friday, blatantly flaunting his independence, against what JB had planned. He is in the dog house and the "points" went to LA for playing the team player. JB will definitely side with LA now, and one should not fuel LA's fire if they desire to beat him. Any comparison of what LA did on stage 3 to what AC did in stage 7 lacks understanding of race tactics and strategies.
 
Jul 11, 2009
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Robert Merivel said:
has issues with authority figures... Doesn't like to be told what to do.... he perceives himself as always being in the driver seat....blatantly flaunting his independence
put down the bong and tell me that this does not apply to Lance. Take away those same characteristics and Lance would not have won one tour, let alone seven.

For extra points , see if you can come up with an answer without having to find a columnist on another site to do your thinking for you.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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elapid said:
Bobby Drivel - you were out with all guns blazing when Lance made the break in Stage 3 and you've been quite for a while. Did it take you that long to come up with more drivel? Did you really think Contador would turn over and concede when Armstrong joined Astana? He is a three-time GT winner, one of only five cyclists to have ever achieved that feat, and defending his TdF title (because he couldn't ride last year). Bruyneel said there was no plan for yesterday's stage - so how can Contador not play according to the plan when there was no plan? Contador, like Lance, is there to win. As many have said, the strongest man should be leader and, with Astana's team, eventual winner. Contador is a better ITT and a better climber than Lance. He is the strongest and Lance should support him rather than divide the team. Lance did play a good support role yesterday by covering potential counterattacks after Contador made his break.

Regardless, Dimspace should award you yet another pointless thread award.
Let me get this on the records from you.
What you are saying is that AC did not "defying team orders?" Forget all the other BS "Drivel" (if I may be so bold as to use a word that you seem fond of using habitually) in your post, are you saying that AC did not divide the team by his move?

In regards to when I post, well, I'm not compulsively obsessed, like others here, of becoming a "senior member." Quality, not quantity.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Robert Merivel said:
Thank you for your opinion, however I think it's a very revealing article that sheds light, based on some facts, on a situation that most people are not aware of, specifically what JB had to say. If you have some "insider" info on that stage or any other, please share.

AC has issues with authority figures. Look at his up bringing... he dropped out of school. Doesn't like to be told what to do. If he loses the tour it will be because he is not a game player. He still doesn't know the mechanics of how it works because he perceives himself as always being in the driver seat. He's a dang great bike rider but this is a team sport for this race. That is his big mistake on this team and it showed by an ill advised "short" attack into the wind on friday, blatantly flaunting his independence, against what JB had planned. He is in the dog house and the "points" went to LA for playing the team player. JB will definitely side with LA now, and one should not fuel LA's fire if they desire to beat him. Any comparison of what LA did on stage 3 to what AC did in stage 7 lacks understanding of race tactics and strategies.
What drivel, Bobby Drivel. Look no further than Armstrong for someone that has problem with authority figures. He states this in his books. Contador and Armstrong are both alpha males, both have the pedigree to be team leader, and Contador has more right to be peeved at the Astana situation when he was undisputed team leader for this TdF until Lance waltzed back into the team and tried to assert his dominance. Well, it ain't all going to go his way. There is a new sheriff in town and he is not going to take any of the posturing BS from Armstrong. Nor should he.

In answer to some of your misconstrued drivel, you have deliberately and selectively used some but not other of Bruyneel's quotes. Here is one for you that contradicts your quote (from http://www.bikeworld news.com):
- Bruyneel: “We didn’t have a specific plan to attack, our plan was to maintain our collective strength first and wait for attacks from the others. Alberto counter-attacked after an attack, our plan had been for the riders to communicate and respond. I had no race radio at that time or TV, so it was something they decided themselves."

So, if this is true, then Contador and Lance discussed what they were going to do on the road, which is in accordance with quotes from Bruyneel about the pre-stage plan. If that's the case, then the only plan on the road was probably Lance saying to Contador don't attack. Who says Contador has to do what Lance says when Contador is obviously stronger than Lance, Contador only has three mountain top finishes to make up time (this being one of them) other than the ITT, and when both are supposedly co-team leaders?

As Contador said: “This was not an attack against Lance. I had good legs and wanted (to put some distance between myself and) pursuers such as Cadel Evans and Carlos Sastre.”

Secondly, comparisons can be made between the stages 3 and 7. Armstrong, Popovich and Zubeldia helped drive the break in stage 3 to help Columbia-HTC increase their time gap to the chasers. A team mate would not have done that - he would have sat in the break and not helped.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Robert Merivel said:
Let me get this on the records from you.
What you are saying is that AC did not "defying team orders?" Forget all the other BS "Drivel" (if I may be so bold as to use a word that you seem fond of using habitually) in your post, are you saying that AC did not divide the team by his move?

In regards to when I post, well, I'm not compulsively obsessed, like others here, of becoming a "senior member." Quality, not quantity.
Bobby, you have neither quality nor quantity.

Prior to replying to this post, I have called you Bobby Drivel in one post. This does not make this term habitual, but it is definitely apt.

And to answer your first question, yes I am categorically stating that Contador did not defy team orders. I refer you to Bruyneel's quote stated in my previous post from http://www.bikeworldnews.com: “We didn’t have a specific plan to attack, our plan was to maintain our collective strength first and wait for attacks from the others. Alberto counter-attacked after an attack, our plan had been for the riders to communicate and respond. I had no race radio at that time or TV, so it was something they decided themselves." There were no team orders not to attack. In regards to team division, that happened when Lance joined Astana, not Lance's move in stage 3 and not Contador's attack on stage 7. It was inevitable when two alpha males on the same both have the legitimate right to be team leaders and both have strong desires to win the TdF. What would you have them do? Contador support Lance or vice versa? As Bruyneel and Armstrong have previously stated, the strongest man should win. Contador has so far shown he is stronger in the ITT and mountains, while Lance has profited from experience and tactics. Contador is the stronger of the two riders and should be team leader.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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elapid said:
Who says Contador has to do what Lance says when Contador is obviously stronger than Lance
Is that your opinion? What do you base this on?

elapid said:
comparisons can be made between the stages 3 and 7. Armstrong, Popovich and Zubeldia helped drive the break in stage 3 to help Columbia-HTC increase their time gap to the chasers. A team mate would not have done that - he would have sat in the break and not helped.
You'll have to give JB a call on this one. With all your expertise and inside info, you obviously have his cell number, right? ...have you ever been in a bike race...road that is? If not, well, maybe you should, and then we'll chat.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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mr. tibbs said:
I still don't understand how Armstrong's joining the split in stage 3 and gaining time on other GC rivals was laudable tactically, but Contador attacking in the montains to gain time on other GC rivals was "going against the plan."

Please clarify. Wasn't Friday just as good--if not better--for Astana's chances to win than the freak split on the falt stage?
Armstrong joined the split not by choice but by luck and being alert. Contador attacked his teamates by choice in a situation where they could not attack back. When Eddie Merckyx comes out and said Contador's attack was wrong its a good indication it was not a good move.

Contador knew that his primary rivals left in the race were Levi, Lance and Kloeden. With distant rivals in Kreuziger, Schleck, VV, and Evans. He also knew if he attacked his teamates and closest rivals were defenseless and could not attack back. In a sense his attack was not only against team orders but showed poor character attacking defenseless competitors. That being said its only 20 seconds and in a way it makes up for the lucky break Armstrong got in stage 3. This race will come down to stage 15, 18 and 20. There is no reason for Contador or Levi or Lance to to attack their teamates in stage 15 unless the group thins out to bascially just them. They can ride tempo, then ride the ITT and let that sort people out the selection for Ventoux and then of there is still an issue let them fight it out on Ventoux. There was no need to attack each other yesterday and nor will there be a need until stage 18.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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mr. tibbs said:
I still don't understand how Armstrong's joining the split in stage 3 and gaining time on other GC rivals was laudable tactically, but Contador attacking in the montains to gain time on other GC rivals was "going against the plan."

Please clarify. Wasn't Friday just as good--if not better--for Astana's chances to win than the freak split on the falt stage?
There was no plan...therefore he did not go against any plan.
 
Chomsky said:
Armstrong joined the split not by choice but by luck and being alert. Contador attacked his teamates by choice in a situation where they could not attack back. When Eddie Merckyx comes out and said Contador's attack was wrong its a good indication it was not a good move.

Contador knew that his primary rivals left in the race were Levi, Lance and Kloeden. With distant rivals in Kreuziger, Schleck, VV, and Evans. He also knew if he attacked his teamates and closest rivals were defenseless and could not attack back. In a sense his attack was not only against team orders but showed poor character attacking defenseless competitors. That being said its only 20 seconds and in a way it makes up for the lucky break Armstrong got in stage 3. This race will come down to stage 15, 18 and 20. There is no reason for Contador or Levi or Lance to to attack their teamates in stage 15 unless the group thins out to bascially just them. They can ride tempo, then ride the ITT and let that sort people out the selection for Ventoux and then of there is still an issue let them fight it out on Ventoux. There was no need to attack each other yesterday and nor will there be a need until stage 18.
Lance helped drive the group so he could gain more time on his rivals. Contador counter-attacked the GC favorite group to gain more time on his rivals. In both instances, those time gains came at the expense of their teammates with Lance gaining 41 seconds on 6 of his teammates and Contador gaining 21 seconds on 8 of them.

The counterattack wasn't against team orders and Armstrong implying that it was just makes him a mendacious a$$.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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Oh shut up robert you're just sad that you're hero isn't in yellow, and attacking into a headwind is smart for a rider that is strong enough to execute it, because other riders are hesitant to follow which is what happened, this thread is supposed to be how immature contador is, but that was a savvy move by contador, he didn't go against JB plan to attack he distanced his rivals even more. And robert by the way I raced domestically for 9 years and been racing competitively, for 24 years so I have some experience on the matter. Don't be sore La has done much better than I have expected he's not good enough though.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Publicus said:
Contador counter-attacked the GC favorite group to gain more time on his rivals.

The counterattack wasn't against team orders and Armstrong implying that it was just makes him a mendacious a$$.
JB, Lance, and Levi have all said it was against team orders. JB said he did not want Contador to attack and he wanted them to ride tempo, slow down the pace so Nino could gain more time and force the distant rivals to attack.

Contadors attack not was not a counterattack. No rival was attacking.

Ultimately it probably does not matters as I doubt anyone gives Lance, Kloeden or Levi a chance. But it did show a lot about Contador's character attacking defenseless competitors.

Now Lance's group in stage 3 being ordered to attack is a different question and a more legitimate question. Its a tactical question. What happened happened whther it was luck or smart riding. Lance was in a group with no GC people it was tactically beneficial to Astana gain him those seconds to make him seem a greater threat to other opponents. But this happened in stage 3 after stage 4 Astana distanced all fo their rivals meaning the only real rivals were Levi, Lance and Kloeden. There no longer is a need for Astana to attack their rivals but just to respond. Essentially the race is between the Astana riders in stage 18 and 20. Attacking them after they worked all day for you and when they cannot back is not how one should win a bike race.

But these decisions are JB's decision not Lance's or AC's. Lance followed team orders and AC did not.

You can LA all the names you want and he probably deserves them but Contador's attack still lacked class and honor.
 
Chomsky said:
JB, Lance, and Levi have all said it was against team orders. JB said he did not want Contador to attack and he wanted them to ride tempo, slow down the pace so Nino could gain more time and force the distant rivals to attack.

Contadors attack not was not a counterattack. No rival was attacking.

Ultimately it probably does not matters as I doubt anyone gives Lance, Kloeden or Levi a chance. But it did show a lot about Contador's character attacking defenseless competitors.
Here's what JB had to say:

Bruyneel: “We didn’t have a specific plan to attack, our plan was to maintain our collective strength first and wait for attacks from the others. Alberto counter-attacked after an attack, our plan had been for the riders to communicate and respond. I had no race radio at that time or TV, so it was something they decided themselves."
What we've learned is that Armstrong throws a fit every time he is perceived not to be in the driver's seat (See pre stage 1, post stage 3 and now post stage 7). I'm tired of arguing with you fans. You argue in the face of facts to the contrary. Just accept that you aren't objective on these points and move on.

If LA wanted to be teamleader, he should have formed his own team or gone to another team instead of Astana. He chose his path, so now he should shut his mouth and pedal. All of his incessant whining in the press is making him look like a baby.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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Publicus said:
Here's what JB had to say:



What we've learned is that Armstrong throws a fit every time he is perceived not to be in the driver's seat (See pre stage 1, post stage 3 and now post stage 7). I'm tired of arguing with you fans. You argue in the face of facts to the contrary. Just accept that you aren't objective on these points and move on.

If LA wanted to be teamleader, he should have formed his own team or gone to another team instead of Astana. He chose his path, so now he should shut his mouth and pedal. All of his incessant whining in the press is making him look like a baby.
Listen to JB's interview today. he said he did not want AC attacking, that he wanted them to ride a slower tempo and let Nino go ahead, and that he disciplined AC in this mornings team meeting and expects it will not happen again.

If thats not enough listen to Levi, listen to Lance or listen to Eddie Merckyx. Regardless of what you think about LA AC's attack was classless and lacked honor.

Mindlessly hating someone does not make AC's actions suddenly right. Put your emotions away and ask what you would think if LA disobeyed team orders and attacked his teammates yesterday. I am sure you would be outraged.
 

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