Bradley Wiggins believes Alberto Contador will win the 2009 Tour de France, even if he does not go on the attack on the climb to Andorra Arcalis on Friday.
Wiggins doesn't believe all the rumours that the gloves are about to come off in the fight between Astana team-mates Lance Armstrong and Contador.
"We’ve heard the rumours but we don’t really know what's going on,” he told Cycling Weekly.
"Are Peter and Jordan really separated? We only know what people tell us. Is the big brother house real? I don’t know to be honest.”
Wiggins is wary of writing off Armstrong but seems to be cheering for Contador.
"He’s going to win the Tour de France. If he wins it tomorrow or on the Ventoux, it doesn’t really matter. He’s got two-and-a-half weeks before he has to win it," Wiggins said.
"That’s just me saying it as a fan of Contador. What do I know? But logic tells me he’s going to just keep it cool [on Friday].”
Wiggins sees this year’s Tour de France as a two-way battle between Armstrong and Contador. Everyone else has already lost too much time to have a realistic chance of victory.
“It’s a two-horse race. They’re in the same team and so that’s where the difficulty comes, and we’ll see how that fans out. But Alberto’s still the favourite and I think Lance would say that as well. At least until Lance shows himself and sees what he is capable of in the next few stages." Perhaps only Wiggins' team mate Christian Vande Velde is in a position to take advantage of their rivalry if he comes good in the final part of the Tour.
“Maybe, but he’s going to wait. He’s not going to attack in the Pyrenees,” Wiggins said.
“He’ll be getting better as the race goes on and hopefully going really good in the third week. The race is pretty much finished for everyone else, for Denis Menchov and for Cadel Evans."
WIGGINS STILL TARGETTING TOP 20
Wiggins is targeting a top 20 overall or even better. The first mountain finish in this year’s Tour de France will also be a big test for his ambitions.
"I’m going to try and stay with Contador’s group when they launch," he said.
"Nobody really knows where it will happen, or if Astana will get a train going on the climb up to Andorra. It’s been such an unpredictable, nervous and stressful race up to now. I’m sure that Astana will take it on, but we don’t really know.”
We will find out on Friday afternoon.
We will be covering Friday's stage seven with live text updates throughout the day here on www.cyclingweekly.com>>
TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 LINKS
Tour de France 2009 - the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.
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
LATEST TOUR NEWS
Tour de France 2009 News Index>>
Millar happy with Tour performance despite no stage win
Analysis: Fight for green jersey is between Cavendish and Hushovd
Wiggins looking ahead to Friday's mountain stage
Analysis: Why Contador's chances rose when Armstrong missed yellow
Delgado criticises Astana for Armstrong manoeuvre
Armstrong: Gaining time on Contador was not the objective
Stage three analysis: Why the bunch split and who gained the most
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
TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 PHOTOS
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 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
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Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
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