Is the Armstrong versus Contador "rivalry" a myth?

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Anonymous

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Susan, PLEASE delete this account like I asked.
Everyone else, here's my last shot.

I’m a tennis fan. I have been for years. Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal has evolved into a rivalry. It wasn’t one when they first played. It wasn’t much of one when Federer did most of the winning. But after numerous intense head to head battles, in the most prestigious tournaments in the world, they have a definite rivalry. They’re both top players, they’ve both been called the best in the world, and they’ve competed hard and well against each other over time. When the two of them meet in a championship match, either one of them could win.

Now let’s look at Armstrong and Contador. They’ve been in races together twice as teammates. The first was at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Armstrong crashed and ended up in a ditch on the side of the road, and went home with a broken collarbone. Contador announced that the course was better suited to the characteristics of Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer than for him. Leipheimer won the race, with Contador in second place, fifteen seconds behind. Clearly there was no rivalry between Armstrong and Contador, or even Leipheimer and Contador.

Fast forward to the Tour de France. In another entry, I’ll discuss a bit about what I and many others believe took place. But for now, let’s take Armstrong and Bruyneel at their word. Don’t worry; I won’t make a habit of that. But let’s assume that they’re both telling the truth, that Lance didn’t intentionally leave Alberto behind in the wind to gain 41 seconds and leapfrog into team leadership, and that management, team and staff all worked to help Alberto to victory.

Clearly that isn’t a rivalry. Armstrong finished in third place, well back in time, and besides, they were teammates, right? If Federer and Nadal played as doubles partners against two other guys, working together to win, that wouldn’t be a rivalry. It wouldn’t be fair for their poor opponents, but it’s not a rivalry.

Alberto did have a fight on his hands against Andy Schleck at the Tour. Schleck did attack him, and did battle on the climbs. Schleck did finish second to his brother Frank on a stage, and was second in the overall classification, but more than four minutes behind Alberto. It might be the first step of towards a rivalry. Contador always mentions the young Schleck as his biggest threat for the 2010 Tour.

But Armstrong didn’t win anything on his own in 2009. He dropped out of the Tour of Ireland. And he’s the one talking loudest about how well he’s going to do at the Tour this year. Some other riders, managers and director sportifs have told the press that he can’t win. Lance just raced for a week, with both he and his coach, Chris Carmichael, saying it was the second fittest he’s ever been in January (after 2004), but he finished 25th at the Tour Down Under.

So where does the rivalry start, the one where they are on bikes in the same place working for opposite teams? Months ago it was announced that the two would meet at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. It has always been on Contador’s schedule, and for a while was considered definite for Armstrong. Now it's just been announced that he will ride the Criterium International, which is in the same time period as Catalunya, so postpone the rivalry even longer. There’s a chance the two might meet at the Dauphine Libere, but Armstrong could avoid France and race the Tour de Suisse instead – he mentioned those two as an either/or without commitment.

So far the rivalry only exists in Armstrong’s mind and the media that uses it to generate stories and interest. So what about the war of words, does that really exist, or is it a reality only to Armstrong and those who believe everything he says?
 
Jun 16, 2009
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With the form in the tdu, if he had the 2nd best form he's ever had in jan well that's not that great for armstrong. He went backwards on old Wilunga hill when the hammer went down.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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Nobody wants to hear what you are saying because it's right. 1 guy on his way in another on his way out. These guys will end up being BFF's after Lance is forced to step away due to age. I can only hope that nobody talks him into a body remake that includes more weight and going toward one day races, it will only delay their friendship. The idea that Armstrong needs to win anything to be the highest paid most popular cyclist should be rethought. He is winning everyday he comes to work and tweets. What he looks like in S.Australia in Jan. with a bag of start money also means very little. The guy is going to firecracker just explode and fade away. He and Brett Farve are probably on the phone right now, each saying the same thing. "I am not the best,but man I am getting paid for being popular""it's hard to walk away from the cash"
 
Jul 11, 2009
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theswordsman said:
Susan, PLEASE delete this account like I asked.
Everyone else, here's my last shot.

So far the rivalry only exists in Armstrong’s mind and the media that uses it to generate stories and interest. So what about the war of words, does that really exist, or is it a reality only to Armstrong and those who believe everything he says?
I'd be surpised if Nutstrong even believes it. Its simply him milking the media, and the media milking him trying to make something, that something being money, out of nothing.

Journalism is just rotten at the moment, the cycling media may even be slightly better than 'news' broadcasters but its still a little sad.

Also, Its sad to see you head off.
 
Jun 9, 2009
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The fact that you guys are sriting about it means the plan is working. Rivalries, either generated by piblicicts or genuine, spark the interest of spectators. The interest of the posters on this forum has undeniably been sparked.
 
May 2, 2009
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I'm not sure why you want your account deleted theswordsman, you can just stop using it if you wish. I hope you keep posting though, the forum is better when you do.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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i think it's media hype - i saw Lance riding upfront for Contador in last years TDF.

as for Lance's form - McEwen was impressed with his legs. Willunga Hill can be put down to too much work on the previous stage. Seeing him for myself, he still seems strong - but not explosive. He won't match the pure climbers, but you can't underestimate knowledge.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Swordsman you're a voice of eloquence and reason - the forum will be a poorer place without you and hope you reconsider. And if that's your last post it's a great one.
 
Psychologically speaking the rivalry "existed" in last year's Tour, mostly because a king didn't want to give up his throne (though was forced to by a superior force, which is how these things always go when the got that way).

His podium comportment, allowed us to also see how ungraciously he took it.

Athletically speaking, the real rivalry will take place at this year's Tour, the two being on separate teams.

I expect the same result as last year...
 
Jun 16, 2009
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The rivalry exits in Armstrongs head and by default the heads of FLigget, Sherwen and the nauseating Bob Roll. Contador knows he has the edge and will just get on with his season as per normal.
 
May 6, 2009
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theswordsman said:
Susan, PLEASE delete this account like I asked.
Everyone else, here's my last shot.

I’m a tennis fan. I have been for years. Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal has evolved into a rivalry. It wasn’t one when they first played. It wasn’t much of one when Federer did most of the winning. But after numerous intense head to head battles, in the most prestigious tournaments in the world, they have a definite rivalry. They’re both top players, they’ve both been called the best in the world, and they’ve competed hard and well against each other over time. When the two of them meet in a championship match, either one of them could win.

Now let’s look at Armstrong and Contador. They’ve been in races together twice as teammates. The first was at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Armstrong crashed and ended up in a ditch on the side of the road, and went home with a broken collarbone. Contador announced that the course was better suited to the characteristics of Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer than for him. Leipheimer won the race, with Contador in second place, fifteen seconds behind. Clearly there was no rivalry between Armstrong and Contador, or even Leipheimer and Contador.

Fast forward to the Tour de France. In another entry, I’ll discuss a bit about what I and many others believe took place. But for now, let’s take Armstrong and Bruyneel at their word. Don’t worry; I won’t make a habit of that. But let’s assume that they’re both telling the truth, that Lance didn’t intentionally leave Alberto behind in the wind to gain 41 seconds and leapfrog into team leadership, and that management, team and staff all worked to help Alberto to victory.

Clearly that isn’t a rivalry. Armstrong finished in third place, well back in time, and besides, they were teammates, right? If Federer and Nadal played as doubles partners against two other guys, working together to win, that wouldn’t be a rivalry. It wouldn’t be fair for their poor opponents, but it’s not a rivalry.

Alberto did have a fight on his hands against Andy Schleck at the Tour. Schleck did attack him, and did battle on the climbs. Schleck did finish second to his brother Frank on a stage, and was second in the overall classification, but more than four minutes behind Alberto. It might be the first step of towards a rivalry. Contador always mentions the young Schleck as his biggest threat for the 2010 Tour.

But Armstrong didn’t win anything on his own in 2009. He dropped out of the Tour of Ireland. And he’s the one talking loudest about how well he’s going to do at the Tour this year. Some other riders, managers and director sportifs have told the press that he can’t win. Lance just raced for a week, with both he and his coach, Chris Carmichael, saying it was the second fittest he’s ever been in January (after 2004), but he finished 25th at the Tour Down Under.

So where does the rivalry start, the one where they are on bikes in the same place working for opposite teams? Months ago it was announced that the two would meet at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. It has always been on Contador’s schedule, and for a while was considered definite for Armstrong. Now it's just been announced that he will ride the Criterium International, which is in the same time period as Catalunya, so postpone the rivalry even longer. There’s a chance the two might meet at the Dauphine Libere, but Armstrong could avoid France and race the Tour de Suisse instead – he mentioned those two as an either/or without commitment.

So far the rivalry only exists in Armstrong’s mind and the media that uses it to generate stories and interest. So what about the war of words, does that really exist, or is it a reality only to Armstrong and those who believe everything he says?
Over my dead body are you leaving. Nah seriously, don't mate. Also Susan is on vacation ATM (AFAIK) so that foils you plan :p

I honestly don't believe that Contador is too worried about Lance. Why would he be worries about a 38 year old?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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When creating a rivalry, Armstrong should have chosen a rider he has a chance of beating--like Wiggins.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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AAHHHH, all the outpouring of emotion for the wordsman...I feel all warm and fuzzy.
 
Apr 19, 2009
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theswordsman said:
Alberto did have a fight on his hands against Andy Schleck at the Tour. Schleck did attack him, and did battle on the climbs. Schleck did finish second to his brother Frank on a stage, and was second in the overall classification, but more than four minutes behind Alberto. It might be the first step of towards a rivalry. Contador always mentions the young Schleck as his biggest threat for the 2010 Tour.
Since just about every other thread is hijacked into LA hysteria, I'm going to hijack this one and make it about Andy Schleck :).

Quote from Contador:
"The main rival will be Andy Schleck, who’s a very good friend besides and a very good person. He’s the strongest, the one who complicated my life the most last year."

So, if you want sporting rivalry, there is one person Contador is worried about.
 
From the El Pais interview: http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/vez/disfruto/ciclista/elpepidep/20100125elpepidep_24/Tes


Have you spoken with Armstrong since the Tour?

I haven’t spoken with him again. I don’t have anything to say to him, either.

Don’t you think that you’ll have to have a face-to-face conversation in order to clarify some things?

As far as I’m concerned, there’s no conversation pending. And as for him, I also think that. When I see him—I think that the first race that we ride together is the Volta a Catalunya, in March—I’ll greet him politely.

Are you afraid that from here to the Tour you might be worn down in a psychological battle with Armstrong?

As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to do anything to make war, and I don’t know what Lance is going to do.

The Texan seems to like to push your buttons…

But I’m not going to push his buttons back if he does.

What’s the difference in the atmosphere from last year’s training camp at Tenerife when Lance Armstrong returned? Do you miss it?

No, I don’t miss it at all. This year the atmosphere is more peaceful. Last year’s camp at Tenerife, with the hotel closed to everybody, seems to me like too much. You can’t leave people out like that.

The experts doubt the potential of your new team.

But unlike them, I’m surprised in a positive way by the team. We did tough training sessions and everybody responded. The Kazakh riders, in particular, are the ones that surprised me most - the excitement, the motivation that they have for riding with Astana.

And Vinokourov, the man that aspired to everything before his positive in the 2007 Tour—has he been well-integrated?

Vinokourov is essential, he draws in the Kazakhs, he keeps the group unified. Tactically, if he rides the Tour, he’ll be a very important element.

Do some riders already have a place on the Tour team?

Nobody, everybody will have to win it.

In your career you’ve had a Spanish director, Saiz, one Belgian, Bruyneel, and now you have an Italian one, Martinelli. Differences?

The Italian philosophy is different. The first thing that was clear to me is that for Martino the team must be built around a captain, that everything must revolve around the leader.

With you, Martinelli has returned to great cycling.

He’s very excited, Martinelli. In a way, his coming with us has revived his excitement for cycling. He’s a director with a lot of experience, he’s won I don’t know how many Giros and the Tour with Pantani and you can tell that that’s a part of him. To speak with him is to take history lessons. I could listen to him telling stories all night.

Tactically, aside from strife while in close quarters, aren’t you going to miss Armstrong?

Maybe so, having Armstrong on the team gave us more strength, we controlled things better. But now I’ll have the freedom to do my race. If that means doing an ascent really fast, I’ll be able to do it.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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So refreshing to hear from a champion who has a respect for the history of the sport as opposed to the 'Jacques Who?' yahooishness of some ;)
 
bianchigirl said:
So refreshing to hear from a champion who has a respect for the history of the sport as opposed to the 'Jacques Who?' yahooishness of some ;)
Agreed.

Some more but not the entire article - the last comment rocks my world:

None of the eight Astana riders that you won the Tour with are staying with you. Does that mean anything?

That we only started to make the team in December, and from zero, and that I couldn’t carry the responsibility that the eight people depended on me for until so late. I understand that they’ve gone.

It’s very different to be a new team as of August. For example, we’ve just gotten the radios, which they’re riding without in Australia in the Tour Down Under, nor do they have the blue bicycles, they have the first ones that Specialized gave us, the ones from training. I couldn’t even be sure about leaving or about staying at Astana, while Bruyneel and Armstrong had already been contracting since August.

Did you ask any rider to wait, then?

No, I didn’t ask any rider to wait.

Physically, how do you feel going into 2010?

Stronger even than last year. The data from training says so.

Have you changed anything in your preparation, or is it that you continue growing?

Each time I’m more of a perfectionist. But the key is always training.

And always thinking about the same thing?

All my life I’ll try to keep winning the Tour.

But you’ve already won two. Isn’t it complicated to find motivation when you’ve already achieved your dream?

Each time, I enjoy being a cyclist more. The motivation is enormous, and as long as I’m maintaining the physical level that allows me to aspire to it all, I’ll keep being a rider.

To aspire to everything and in all the races. You’re one of those cyclists that wants to win everything he rides…

I don’t like that theory of training for the bib number. When I go to a race, I always go to try to be in front. Whether I win or not, we’ll see.

They say that you’re so superior to all the other cyclists that you’ll be able to lose up to 10 minutes on the pavé in the Tour and it won’t matter, because in the mountains you can take half an hour from anybody…

In the Tour I want a calm race, not one like that. Reaching the mountains in front and staying in front. The main rival will be Andy Schleck, who’s a very good friend besides and a very good person. He’s the strongest, the one who complicated my life the most last year. And then, a few others, and Armstrong, obviously.

Do you think that if you want to win a lot of Tours you’ll have to calculate and try to win by the minimum, not by a rout?

Some things can’t be calculated, it’s not all that easy.

You’ve always said that you’ll never stop being a person to be a celebrity. Isn’t it more difficult each time to keep that promise?

It’s not about choosing between being a benchmark or a person. It’s possible to be both things, both aspects can exist side by side in the personality.

It’s true that I’m not into Twitter or Facebook, like so many of my colleagues, because I believe that it’s a way to lose privacy, but the sponsors require it to a certain extent. So I’ll enter that world, but in a very moderate way. I’ll never put on my Twitter page, for example, that I’m with my fiancée at the movies…

Nevertheless, all the myths in sports have also been unique personalities.

But you can be a myth and be a quiet person, an ordinary man. Look at Induráin, the whole world admires him, everything that he’s won, and he lives a very quiet life.

Is it about being like Induráin, then?

No, it’s about being yourself.
 
thehog said:
Agreed.

Some more but not the entire article - the last comment rocks my world:

Nevertheless, all the myths in sports have also been unique personalities.

But you can be a myth and be a quiet person, an ordinary man. Look at Induráin, the whole world admires him, everything that he’s won, and he lives a very quiet life.

Is it about being like Induráin, then?

No, it’s about being yourself.
I posted snippets of this in the Contador 2010 thread as well (along with the link). The last quote is very powerful. This was the best interview (in terms of insight into how AC's mind works) he's given.
 
Wow yeah, thanks for that interview. I've never read much with Contador other then reflections on races, but this gives a good picture of his deeper mindset. I've never really liked him, but that interview swayed me more in the 'like' direction. He certainly seems down to earth, or at least if he's arrogant, he keeps it to himself. It's refreshing, and seems to debunk the 'King of Spain' image that Armstrong was trying to paint.
 
skidmark said:
Wow yeah, thanks for that interview. I've never read much with Contador other then reflections on races, but this gives a good picture of his deeper mindset. I've never really liked him, but that interview swayed me more in the 'like' direction. He certainly seems down to earth, or at least if he's arrogant, he keeps it to himself. It's refreshing, and seems to debunk the 'King of Spain' image that Armstrong was trying to paint.

JB was really the one pushing that image, Armstrong was just piggybacking. But you are right, their description of him just isn't borne out when you hear him speak (or others describe him).
 
Mar 11, 2009
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FingerBangbang said:
Is it about being like Induráin, then?

"No, it’s about being yourself."
"Its all about being me me me me..."

Oh great, just what the sport needs, a self-absorbed faker patron

FingerBangBang said:
And Vinokourov, the man that aspired to everything before his positive in the 2007 Tour—has he been well-integrated?

"Vinokourov is essential, he draws in the Kazakhs, he keeps the group unified. Tactically, if he rides the Tour, he’ll be a very important element."
So, who is the real leader of Astana lol?
Oh yeah, the strongest rider bwahaha haha
 
Polish said:
"Its all about being me me me me..."

Oh great, just what the sport needs, a self-absorbed faker patron



So, who is the real leader of Astana lol?
Oh yeah, the strongest rider bwahaha haha
Bravo!!!! Didn't think anyone could take such a humble statement and turn into evidence of egomania, but you proved me wrong. Just being yourself is now a bad thing! Thanks Polish :rolleyes:
 
Jul 9, 2009
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Publicus said:
Bravo!!!! Didn't think anyone could take such a humble statement and turn into evidence of egomania, but you proved me wrong. Just being yourself is now a bad thing! Thanks Polish :rolleyes:
No, being Polish is a bad thing.

Edit: Not the nationality, but the individual who has insulted Poles everywhere by choosing that user name.
 

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