Armstrong Plays Second Fiddle to Teammate

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2009 1:21 PM CDT
Lance Armstrong, right, talks to his teammate Alberto Contador, wearing the best climber's dotted jersey, during the second stage of the Tour de France.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Lance Armstrong suffered a late setback today as a teammate made a last-minute push in the seventh stage of the Tour de France, the New York Times reports. Armstrong's Astana teammate Alfredo Contador didn't win the longest stage of the Tour—Brice Feillu did—and Rinaldo Nocentini still holds the overall lead. But his assertive move may have answered the intra-Astana question of who’s working for whom.

With 1 mile to go, in the steepest section of the 139-mile stage, Contador pulled ahead of Armstrong. The two had been riding close together all day, but Armstrong seemed to fall gamely back to deal with the opposition as Contador made his play. The Spaniard is 6 seconds behind Nocentini overall, and Armstrong just 2 seconds behind him. After Armstrong’s retirement and comeback, Contador is considered the strongest climber in the world.