German Andreas Klöden took up the fight against Linus Gerdemann and for his new teammate Lance Armstrong. The Astana rider criticised Team Milram's new signing for his comments regarding Armstrong in what appears to be a developing generational battle.
Klöden, 33, said to muax.de that his 26 year-old countryman has "a small profile neurosis" which makes him force his way into the media, presenting himself as "Mr. Clean and the saviour of German cycling," while not showing enough respect to Armstrong.
Gerdemann, winner of stage seven in the 2007 Tour de France and holder of its leader's jersey, signed with Milram at the end of October. He bought out his contract with Team Columbia, where he raced for three years.
He explained that the media misrepresented his comments after the Milram press conference last week and that he had not criticised the seven-time Tour de France winner. "I said that the name of Armstrong is always mentioned in connection with doping in the media, and that this is not 100 percent good for cycling," he said to dpa press agency.
"Linus will do all he can to get press," said Klöden, winner of this year's Tour de Romandie. "I don't have to go up to every camera and present myself as the saviour of cycling. Linus should keep calm and show respect" for Armstrong. Gerdemann "is promoting himself at the cost of other riders. ... He has only once accomplished anything" by winning the Deutschland Tour this year.
Armstrong, who will join former Team Manager Johan Bruyneel and Klöden at Team Astana, responded to Gerdemann's rumoured remarks. He threatened to chase Gerdemann if he tried to join an escape group. Klöden reminded Gerdemann that he would need "friends in the peloton," and that Armstrong would not be one of them; "Lance was angry." (SW)