Crash suggests Armstrong has bigger problems

March 24, 2009

On Monday morning, I told one of my colleagues: “Today (on Tour of Castilla y Leon) should be cool. Decisive stage is Tuesday with the time trial.”

It looks like I was wrong.

Around 4.15pm, my telephone went mad, I received dozens of updates on Twitter. What almost never happened, had just happened badly: LA had crashed and broken his collarbone.

It is usual for a rider to suffer a broken collarbone at least once in his career. Earlier this month, it happened to David Millar.

But in 17 years, Armstrong had never been sidelined because of a crash-related injury. So, is it only bad luck or is it something else?

Having been out of competitive racing for over three years, Armstrong probably lost some of his know-how about riding in a peloton — where you often have to push and shove to be in front and stay out of trouble.

Usually, a team leader is protected by his team mates and that is exactly what LA was benefiting from in his Tour de France years.

Without that protection he has problems in the peleton. He hinted as much in his Twitter feed after Saturday’s Milan-San Remo.

“Done with Milan-San Remo. What a race! Fast, crazy, but great. My legs felt good. bad position at start of the Cipressa so my day was done.”

PHOTO: Lance Armstrong is taken from an ambulance as he arrives at Hospital Clinico in Valladolid, central Spain, March 23, 2009. REUTERS/Rafa Gomez-Ciclismo a Fondo


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One has to wonder why Armstrong was in the middle of the pack whereas he used to ride always in the first 15 back to his days of glory. Why wasn’t he protected by other riders ? Only Vaitkus was caught in the fall, and it seems that other Astana team mates were with Contador and Leipheimer in the front. Guess what, they’re all Spanish. Astana team does not seem to be as unite as US Postal was and Sean Yates must have been yelled at by Bruyneel by phone for that !

Posted by clement | Report as abusive

I don’t think he’s got used to life as a journeyman yet.

Posted by Jamesy | Report as abusive

Armstrong isn’t a team leader in this race- hence, no protection. It happens, and the part of the road where he fell, the sides were more dangerous than the middle. Contador is Spanish yes, Leipheimer is American (US National Champ 2007).

Astana is united as much as Postal, the only differences, Lance isn’t number one and the team has 3-4 potential leaders (Leipheimer, Kloden, Contador).

Posted by Velo-Runner | Report as abusive