Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel weigh in on 2009 feud with Alberto Contador

After Contador spoke publicly about the internal struggle, the banned rider and manager have both responded

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel have both weighed in on the 2009 feud between Armstrong and his team-mate Alberto Contador.

Both Armstrong and Contador were targeting victory in the 2009 Tour de France while riding for Astana, and after an internal power struggle the Spaniard emerged as champion, with Armstrong finishing third, five minutes back.

In a recent interview with YouTuber Valentí Sanjuan, Contador recalled the battle inside the team, which included Armstrong telling his team-mate “don’t f*** with me.”

Armstrong said in a video posted on Instagram: “There has been a little buzz in the cycling world a bout a recent interview that Alberto Contador did and I’ve been asked a lot to comment on this.

“But there really is no comment. What I will say, and I guess this is a comment, so I will say, is the best man won in 2009.”

Tension started in the opening week of the 2009 Tour, when Armstrong benefitted from a split in the peloton and usurped Contador as Astana’s best-placed rider.

Contador then attacked on stage seven to overtake Armstrong once again, with the Texan later saying the move wasn’t part of the plan, with Contador  later securing the win in the stage 18 time trial.

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Speaking on ESPN show El Leñero Johan Bruyneel, the manager of Astana at the time, also responded to Contador’s interview, saying: “I don’t want to attack Contador, I simply want to show my version as a director.

“I was the person in charge of the team and I don’t know if it was a director criticism of me or not.

“All my decisions were in favour of Astana, not team Armstrong or team Contador team. I knew that in 95 per cent of cases our best card to play was Contador, because at that time he was the best.”

Contador, who retired in 2017, went into the race as overall favourite having won the 2007 Tour de France and the Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia in 2008. Armstrong, at the time a seven-time Tour de France winner, had returned from a four-year retirement in 2009 with the ambition of adding to his record.

In 2012, long-standing allegations of doping by Bruyneel and Armstrong were proven true and the rider was stripped of all seven Tour de France titles, as well as the third place finish in the 2009 Tour.

Both Bruyneel and Armstrong have been banned from cycling for life.

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