Johan Bruyneel is looking forward to the Critérium International next week, when Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong will race against each other for the first time since last year's Tour de France. The RadioShack team manager said he expects Armstrong to be sufficiently recovered from the illness that kept him out of Saturday's Milan-San Remo in order to ride the race on the island of Corsica next weekend.
Armstrong came down with “gastrointestinal symptoms” on Thursday after training, “but it's nothing to worry about,” Bruyneel told the Belgian website Sporza.be. "[His participation in] the Critérium International shouldn't be compromised."
Earlier this month, Astana captain Contador changed his racing schedule to add the Critérium International, scrapping his previously planned appearance at the Volta a Catalunya. "I don't know why Contador has changed his program, but it is interesting," said Bruyneel.
However, Bruyneel expects the Spaniard to do better in the race than Armstrong. "I think that Contador has the upper hand at the moment. We'll see how it goes. Lance does not have super form but he is now on track," he said.
The Critérium International is a three-day race, which will, for the first time, be held on the French island of Corsica. Stage one is a 175.5 kilometre mountain stage featuring five categorised climbs, including a mountain-top finish. The second stage is a flatter, rolling stage of only 75 kilometres, to be held on Sunday morning. The race ends that afternoon with a relatively flat 7.7 kilometre individual time trial.
The past three editions of the race have been won by Saxo Bank's Jens Voigt. However, the German will not return to defend his title this year. Armstrong has finished on the podium on both of his two appearances at the race (2nd in 2002 and 3rd in 2004), with his 2004 result coming behind five-time race winner, Voigt. Contador finished 50th overall in his only participation, in 2006.