Former Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado has criticised Astana for collaborating in the stage three echelon that saw Lance Armstrong gain 41 seconds on team-mate Alberto Contador.

“It’s one thing for Armstrong to be in the front group – that was where he should have been, and all credit to him,” Delgado told Cycling Weekly. “But at the same time, Astana working on the front like that risks dividing the squad, and for minimal gains.”

“All Armstrong got was about 10 seconds more than he would have if he sat back and let Columbia-HTC do all the work. And nobody could have criticised him.”

Although Contador has remained tight-lipped on the subject, Delgado believes the divisions in the Astana squad now have the potential to widen much further following the decision to collaborate with Columbia-HTC. “What can Armstrong say now if Contador attacks and drops him on the climb to Andorra? Nothing at all.”

“And if Contador drops him on the Tourmalet, the gaps could be really big. Three or four minutes. In my opinion, strategicaly Armstrong’s taken a small advantage, but the team could pay a big price later.”

Amongst the Spanish media, the Armstrong and Astana manoeuvre was not seen favourably either. “It’s war in Astana” was the headline on leading sports daily MARCA’s website on Tuesday.


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  • 11th gear

    I agree with Pedro, in that it’s odd for Armstrong to have shown his colours so early, as he says, he now can’t complain too much when Contador counter-attacks.

    But then maybe Armstrong knows it’s the only realistic chance he’s got at yellow this year. So maybe it’s all a ruse by Astana to keep everyone guessing.

    Either way, keeps the racing exciting.

  • richie

    ssssh delgado!

  • Denver Ski Dude

    Pedro, with all respect seems to have a one sided view of this situation. Frankly it is Contador that has the Wolf by the ears. Lance has nothing to loose, he has been out for a time, Contador is the defender. If Contador should challenge Armstrong as Pedro muses, then I feel it will be Contador that will feel the sting. This might just make Contador the foot note in this tour…. Think about it Pedro! Another Spanish Armada lost?

  • Dave

    Great. I love a good war