Team Astana Reactions to the 2009 Tour de France Route Announcement
The 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, Team Manager Johan Bruyneel and Team Director Alain Gallopin attended the official presentation of the route of the 2009 Tour de France in Paris, France on Wednesday and offered us their reactions to the route of next year’s race.
Alberto Contador: “Just like every year, it looks like a Tour for a complete rider. The penultimate stage to the top of the Mont Ventoux is special, of course. Other years, we were used to having a time trial on that last day. I cannot complain about the time trials. The first one in Monaco is quite difficult and that suits me. The last one is not too long with its 40 kilometers. I am happy about that. Many people say that it is a Tour for climbers, but I don’t agree with that assessment. There are only three uphill finishes. In the last Tour of Spain Andorra was not so hard and I don’t have the impression that Verbier will be very hard, but I will have to go see and ride them.”
Alain Gallopin: “It will be a very hard but interesting Tour the France. As Team Director it will be difficult to control the race and to make a strategy. Every teammate will have to be good from the first day forward. We arrive early at the Pyrenees, and then it will be a long way to the Alps. Even with this atypical Tour, the most consistent rider will win once again. It will be a nice Tour for our Team and our leaders.”
Johan Bruyneel: “Alberto Contador has only one big goal for 2009 and that is to win the Tour de France. It is a Tour with less kilometers in the time trial, which is good for him. Also good for him is the omission of the bonification seconds – although he did win the Vuelta on bonifications. More uphill finishes would have been better, but we’ll take the three and not complain. The Ventoux at the end of the race is very special. It will provoke suspense until the very end, which is good for the race. Alberto proved in the Tour of Spain of this year that he can cope with the role of leader and favorite. He will be ready. From now on, he can already start working to reach that big goal, just like Lance Armstrong did in the past. The decision on Lance’s participation in the Tour de France 2009 is for later. For the moment it is 50-50 whether he will ride the Tour. After the 2009 Tour Down Under and the 2009 Tour of California we will already know more.”
Commenting on the 2009 Tour de France route Lance Armstrong told us that, “The route of the 2009 Tour de France strikes me as innovative and very interesting. From its start in Monte Carlo with a 15k time trial, to the reinstatement of the team time trial, to stages in my old hometown of Girona all the way to another visit to my old friend the Ventoux, I could not have hoped for a different Tour.”
Armstrong added that “While there has been a fair bit of tension and numerous disagreements with the Tour and its organizers, I am well aware that there is new leadership at ASO and I look forward to upcoming conversations and to a mutually beneficial future together. Whether it's promoting the Livestrong global cancer campaign or making the biggest bike race in the world the gem that it deserves to be, I look forward to next year. I would also like to recognize the UCI and commend them for their aggressive stance against doping, a stance that is unmatched in all of world sport.”
When asked about who will leading Team Astana in the Tour de France 2009 Lance Armstrong told us that “It is illogical to pre-select a leader for any race in October of the previous year. We are blessed at Astana to have the strongest team in the world and I look forward to riding with all of these great riders. I have been around long enough to know that cycling is a team sport and I am fully committed to supporting the strongest rider in any race. Whether that's me, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, or Andreas Kloden.”