Armstrong concedes he can't win the 2009 Tour

Lance Armstrong, Tour de France 2009, stage 15

Lance Armstrong virtually accepted defeat in the Tour de France after losing 1-35 to team mate Alberto Contador on the climb to Verbier and struggling to stay with the other overall contenders.

The 37-year-old Texan had hoped to at least hang on to Contador's wheel but did not have the speed on the climb when it really mattered.

It was probably tough for him to admit, but he acknowledged that Contador is now the best Tour de France rider in the world.  

"Now you know who's the best rider in the world and the best rider in the race. In the past I was the best, now he's the best," Armstrong said at the finish.

“Alberto is the best rider. Sure he is the best climber. You know when everybody is at the limit and you can accelerate again, that's how you win the Tour. I have been there. I definitely suffered, it was very hard, I was at the limit, I no longer have the acceleration and the pace that Alberto has.”

Armstrong happy to play domestique

Armstrong said he will ride for Contador and for the good of the Astana team for the rest of the Tour. His objective is now a place on the podium.

“When somebody has so much pressure on him and shows he is the best you can't deny it. It would be unfair. As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy to be his domestique. I'm proud of him. So hats off to Alberto and to the Schlecks for a great race today.

"A day like this really shows who's the best," Armstrong continued. "For me, that's reality but that's not devastating news. As a team, we're strong. There has been a lot of drama about Alberto and especially in the media but at the end of the day we all sit around the table as team mates, and the last thing we can do is to lose the Tour.”

“It's clear we have the strongest rider in the race and this is team sport. None of us, Andreas [Kloden] or myself, can think about ourselves, we have to think about the team. If we play it really, really smart, we can have three guys in the top five and the guy who wins. That's a special opportunity but I think now it's time for me to put my chances aside. I'm now going to do my best and be a solid team mate.”

“I think after today he demonstrated he is the strongest in the race. I thought I'd feel a little better but I didn't. There is no point messing around. I gave everything I had and I wasn't the best.”

“That's because I haven't been there for a long, long time. There might be people out there that expect me to ride like I did in 2004 or 2005 but that's not reality. If I do another year, and I get a season under my belt, maybe I can get that race condition back. But right now, I don't have it.”


Tour de France 2009 - the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.


Stage 15: Contador wins in Verbier as Tour explodes into life

Stage 14: Ivanov wins as Nocentini clings onto yellow

Stage 13: Haussler braves rain for victory in Colmar

Stage 12: Sorensen wins in Vittel as Cavendish goes for green

Stage 11: Cavendish takes fourth win to equal Hoban's record

Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win

Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire

stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out

Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance

Stage six: Millar's brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs

Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage

Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second

Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage

Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador

Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint

Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial


Tour de France 2009 News Index>>

Stage 14 analysis: Is the Tour now over?

Columbia criticise Garmin for chasing Hincapie

Cavendish reveals he is going for green

Tour comment: The suspense is killing us

Analysis: Why Cavendish is one of the modern greats

Radio ban over-turned for Friday's Tour stage

Arvesen out of Tour with fractured collarbone

Tour analysis: Why the go slow did cycling no favours on Bastille Day

Cavendish's odd stage 10 finish celebration explained

No radios today, but experiment could be a one-off

Tour audio: Mark Cavendish after stage 10

Contador brushes aside talk of Armstrong conflict

Cavendish odds-on favourite for Bastille Day victory

The Tour de France Comment: Monday, July 13

How the favourites are doing (first rest day)

Wiggins stays with leaders at Tour

Armstrong: 'If Contador wins, I'll be second'

Wiggins 'on cloud nine' at Tour de France

Armstrong says Contador attack wasn't in the plan

Cavendish survives the first Tour mountain stage with ease

Wiggins, the Tour de France overall contender, has arrived


Garmin-Slipstream's HQ before the Tour

David Zabriskie's time trial bike

Mark Cavendish on the Tour's team time trial

David Brailsford interview

Mark Cavendish on the Tour

Jonathan Vaughters on Bradley Wiggins' chances


Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage four TTT photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones

Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson

Team presentation by Andy Jones

Team presentation by Graham Watson


Tour de France 2009 - the hub

Tour de France 2009: Who's riding

Tour de France 2009: Team guide

About the Tour de France


Tour de France 2009: Who will win?

Tour de France 2009 on TV: Eurosport and ITV4 schedules

Big names missing from 2009 Tour de France

Tour de France anti-doping measures explained

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Cycling Weekly's rider profiles


Follow the Tour on Cycling Weekly's Twitter feed

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