jeff gardner.

Lance Armstrong and the art of being smart

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about yesterday’s Tour de France stage (Stage 3: Marseille to La Grande Motte). From the beginning it appeared that it was going to be a boring stage. Flat, hot and fairly long – which was made worse by a 4 man breakaway that the peloton didn’t really work too hard to reel back in. Turns out that assumption was wrong. The last 35 or so kilometers were absolutely fantastic! There was a strong crosswind through the flats that began to pull the peloton apart and then team Columbia-HTC (who had slowly positioned all of their riders at the front of the peloton) made a break! And a big one. They, with quite a few other riders who saw the move coming, put 40 seconds between themselves and the main pack before the finish. No surprise, Mark Cavendish took the stage win again.

But almost as soon as the break happened it was noted that Lance Armstrong had made the break with team Columbia-HTC and Alberto Contador had not. There has been a lot of talk recently about how Lance is just returning to the tour to take over team Astanta and try for an 8th Tour victory. While Lance may harbor desires for another tour win, I don’t think it’s a very fair assessment to say that he is just back to try and grab the win out of the hands of his teammate, Contador. The fact that Contador didn’t make that break is poor communication between teammates, yes, but it reflects much more on the good judgement and quick reaction that 7 tour victories has given Lance.

Bottom Line? People need to stop whining on behalf of Alberto Contador. He’s a strong rider and well capable of winning the Tour – as long as he puts himself in the right place at the right time. Lance Armstrong is a teammate and as such should try hard to help Alberto find those opportunities, but Lance is still in the race himself, and he is still a competitive athlete and I, for one, would love to see him take an 8th.

(Edit: I couldn’t stand the auto play recap movie. You can check it all out at

Tagged: lance armstrong, tour de france, alberto contador, and stage 3
07 July 2009

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