Lance Armstrong knows that it will be difficult to win the Tour de France 2010 when he goes "man to man" against Alberto Contador, but he also knows that he will have a strong team supporting him. For the first time, he indicated that German Andreas Klöden will be joining him next season at the newly formed Team RadioShack.
In an interview with the French magazine Vélo, Armstrong said "man to man, against Alberto it will be very hard to win". To accomplish that, the team "will go with more leaders - me, Levi (Leipheimer), (Andreas) Klöden, (Haimar) Zubeldia, strong riders who can lead a team."
The other three riders are all teammates of Armstrong this year at Team Astana. Leipheimer and Zubeldia had previously indicated that they would join Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel at RadioShack, but this was the first notice of Klöden's future plans.
Armstrong got in a dig at Contador and his racing knowledge, or lack thereof. He cited the Tour's third stage to La Grand-Motte, when the wind and Team Columbia-HTC split the peloton with 32 km to go.
Armstrong was in the lead group of 27, and Contador was not. The American had teammates Yaroslav Popovych and Zubeldia with him, and upon his instructions, those two helped the group get away and stay away. Contador ended up finishing 41 seconds down. Armstrong leapfrogged over him to third place overall.
That episode, Armstrong said, "distinguished those who can race, those who feel the race. That's the way to ride the Tour." That evening, he added, "Alberto was angry. Not for what I did, but for what he did."
Klöden, 34, joined Astana in 2007 after riding for Telekom/T-Mobile from 1998 to 2006. He finished second overall in the Tour de France in 2004 and 2006. Klöden also won bronze in the Olympic road race in Sydney in 2000.
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