Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Contador looks stronger than ever … even in a weaker team

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SPORT-DECADE/CYCLINGDon’t tell Alberto Contador his team is weak. He won’t like it and he might be right in saying Astana are stronger than some would think.

Last year, Contador was part of an Astana team featuring Americans Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer, and German Andreas Kloeden. That team was labelled as the strongest ever but Contador did not enjoy much of his season despite winning the Tour de France.

Since Armstrong and manager Johann Bruyneel defected to U.S.-funded team Radioshack for the 2010 season, things have radically changed for Contador.  The team may not be as strong as it was but Contador is feeling on top of the world — crediting the support network for his Paris-Nice victory at the weekend.

 ”I feel that I can trust everyone and everyone can trust me in this team,” Contador said. “Everybody is behind me. I have a good relationship with (team manager) Yvon (Sanquer). Every time I need something, I get it from him quickly.”

Quiet man Contador makes his point to Bruyneel

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Alberto Contador reminds me of Rafael Nadal. He speaks softly, he is very polite, some would say he is a kind lad. He is all those things, and, just like Nadal, once he gets on his turf, he is all but a killer.

Contador said before starting Paris-Nice, a race featuring several Tour de France contenders, that he was not here to make his point within the Astana team.

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