24 Sep 2008

Contador may leave Astana if they hire Armstrong

9:36 am on 24 September 2008

The Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador, who won the Tour of Spain last weekend, hinted he may quit the Astana team if it hires Lance Armstrong, who has announced he is coming out of retirement to seek a record eighth Tour de France title.

Contador says it would be quite complicated if Armstrong joined the team.. he feels he's earned the right to be the leader of a team without having to fight for it and with Armstrong, there could be difficult situations in which the team would put him first and that would harm him.

The 37-year-old Armstrong rocked the world of cycling earlier this month by confirming that he was planning an audacious comeback with a view to winning a record eighth Tour de France next summer.

Astana boss Joahn Bruyneel, who managed Armstrong as director of the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams, said recently he would "not allow" the American to join another team.

But Contador said he may quit the Kazakh-backed, Luxembourg-based team if it hires the American, who is to give a press conference on Friday at which he is to announce his plans.

Contador won the Tour of Spain on Sunday to add his victories in the 2007 Tour de France winner and this year's Giro d'Italia.

He is now only the fifth rider in history, and the first ever Spaniard, to win all three of cycling's three-week Tours.