Alberto Contador Press Conference Interview - 2009 Tour de France - Rest Day 1
The other favorites will have to attack. There is no tension between Lance Armstrong and I.
Facing a vast number of journalists and photographers, Alberto Contador earlier today answered questions from the media on the first rest day of the 2009 Tour de France - after eight hard days of racing. Many questions focused on Team Astana's Tour domination and the relationship between Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong. According to Contador no tension exists. In regards to his Tour domination, Contador concludes that the other favorites will have to attack him, not the other way around.
Lance Armstrong has said that your attack on the Arcalis climb was not part of your team's plan for that stage, but that he expected it. What are your comments in regards to this analysis?
In the morning during the team meeting in the team bus we discussed that we wanted to control the race and hold back, awaiting attacks from our competitors. Those attacks did not happen. I estimated that the situation on the climb was to my advantage and that I was strong enough. I believed that I could use the situation to the advantage of the team. It's one thing to plan a stage during the pre-race team meeting and quite another to face the real race. You can't plan everything. I attacked because I was certain that it would benefit my team.
Some pro cycling analysts find that Armstrong's words after the stage feature a tone of critique towards you. What do you think?
I am very calm because the team benefited from my strong performance.
Do you believe that you are the leader or is the race progressing slightly differently than what was expected?
If I was clearly the leader then the polemic after the Arcalis stage would not have surfaced. Also, I know that we are keeping all our opportunities open and because of it I do not find this topic very interesting or important. It is a topic that some people focus too much on.
How is your relationship after all that has happened?
It is a normal situation and my relation with Lance [Armstrong] is like my relationship with any other rider. We have dinner at the same table and are in the bus at the same time without any problems. Often the tension seems to be bigger on the outside than what it really is on the inside of a team.
Is the situation, however, influencing you?
The situation would be better if there was no need for questions such as these, because this would mean that we were facing a normal situation. It is not like that, but in spite of it I am calm enough. I concentrate on the race and not on those things that could potentially affect my concentration. The Tour de France is a very demanding race and we cannot spend energy on other things.
Does the current polemic inhibit your ability to fight for the overall Tour de France 2009 victory?
The situation might be simpler if I only had to think about how to pedal,