Contador rivalry could hurt Armstrong
Team RadioShack boss Johan Bruyneel wants to play down Lance Armstrong's rivalry with Alberto Contador at the Tour de France, for fear of giving the American's other challengers a helping hand.
The enmity between the pair is well-documented after both raced for Astana last season, with Bruyneel as their sporting director. Armstrong, whose seven Tour wins came under Bruyneel's management before both men joined RadioShack, eventually succumbed to his Spanish team-mate, who won his second title.
Bruyneel believes that Andy and Frank Schleck and Bradley Wiggins can only gain "an advantage" from a Armstrong-Contador focus come the Tour.
"I think it's wrong to look at it that way because it only provides the other contenders with an advantage," said Bruyneel at the Vuelta de Murcia yesterday. "There's no point in going on about Contador-Armstrong because we only spend more energy on that, and that just helps the others."
Wiggins said it was important to get a sense of where the 38-year-old Armstrong was in his training.
"You do all the things you would do if it was the Tour de France, riding with the same mindset," Wiggins said. "Coming here and trying to pick up some results is good for the morale."
Like Armstrong, Wiggins said that today's time-trial would be important for the season ahead -- Armstrong has already pinpointed the Schlecks and Wiggins as Tour candidates.
"All sports need people, need personalities," Armstrong said. "I think we're starting to see in cycling the evolution of other stars, which is good."
Milram's Luke Roberts won yesterday's third stage after leader Robbie Hunter abandoned the race to rush to his wife's side for the birth of his second child.
Wiggins, Armstrong and Ireland's Philip Deignan all finished safely in the main group as Astana's Josep Jufré took over from Hunter as race leader.