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Contador laments loss of Lance Armstrong

Alberto Contador: "It's a pity to lose Lance"

Alberto Contador: "It's a pity to lose Lance" (Image credit: Jacinto Vidarte)

Alberto Contador has expressed regret at losing his Astana teammate Lance Armstrong due to a crash in the opening day of the Castilla y León in Spain. The seven-time Tour winner took a tumble, landing in a ditch with a fractured collarbone. It was the first opportunity for the two champions to race together prior to the Tour de France.

"It is a pity to lose Lance, because he was eager to gain some good training in this race," said Contador.

Armstrong was in the main group during the 176.3-kilometres stage from Paredes De Nava to Baltanás. The pace increased in the final kilometres and the Texan crashed near kilometre 160 and went off the right side of the narrow road.

"It was a good opportunity to work together at a race. Now I can only support him and hope he recovers as soon as possible in order to start the Giro d'Italia."

Contador finished in 27th with the same time as winner Joaquin Sobrino Martinez (Burgos Monumental - Castilla y Leon).

"I tried to protect myself from the wind to reserve my forces for tomorrow's time trial. In the last kilometres, I decided to move forward in the pack to avoid problems, so I did not see the crash."

Contador won the stage race in 2007 and 2008. He recently finished fourth and won two stages in Paris-Nice. He is a favourite for a third victory at Castilla y León.