"If we ride into Paris with the yellow jersey in the team, I'm cool with that. I've got seven of them at home."
--Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France and teammate of Alberto Contador on the Astana team.
VERBIER, Switzerland -- Alberto Contador, current leader in the Tour de France, distanced himself in Stage 15 from seven-time winner Lance Armstrong and a group of other rival contenders.
Contador, with the reputation as the best climber in the world, now holds the 2009 Tour lead by 1 minute, 37 seconds over teammate Armstrong, who acknowledged he couldn't keep up. Armstrong's performance kept him in second place overall.
"The differences now are pretty big," Contador said, "and the team's bet should now be me, no? I'm happy to have earned this jersey."
"We are ready to sacrifice everything to have Alberto in the yellow jersey in Paris: the teams standings and Lance's second place," Astana sports director Alain Gallopin told Reuters on Monday.
So, Lance Armstrong, cycling icon, with the handwriting on the wall sacrifices his individual goals to assist 2007 Tour winner Alberto Contador and the Astana team achieve their rightful glory.
Excerpts from ESPN.com and the New York Times, July 20, 2009.
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