Lance Armstrong Buddies Up With Alberto Contador As Mountains Loom


We’re late with this morning’s Tour update — Stage 6 is already underway and should produce another sprint finish in a couple of hours — but for Lance Armstrong fans, there’s still not much to do but wait for the Alps to arrive this weekend.

Armstrong is in 18th place overall, which we have already pointed out means nothing. The real race for the overall lead will be turned upside down when the Tour heads up the mountains, but then Lance’s real work begins — gaining back the 50 seconds he lost to Alberto Contador. At least they’re now no longer hating on each other.

Armstrong admitted to the AP’s Jerome Pugmire that he and his team can’t control the race the way he did in the past. “There’s not 10 guys at the front who care about racing, there’s 100 guys. It’s very different,” he said.

And the most talented of those 100? Armstrong says it’s Contador, reports VeloNation’s Ben Atkins. But whatever animosity there was between the two riders, Lance says, is gone.

That point was made manifest when, yesterday, Contador visited Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel to deliver commemorative wristwatches celebrating Contador’s 2009 Tour victory, the AP’s’ Pugmire reports.

As for the 5th stage itself, Brit sprinter Mark Cavendish bounced back from some poor showings to win his 11th overall Tour stage. The effort reduced him to a “flood of tears,” reports the Daily Mail‘s Ivan Speck. The victory makes Cavendish the favorite for today’s relatively flat stage into Gueugnon.

Stage 5 results: 1. Mark Cavendish (GBr), 2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger), 3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), 4. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa), 5. Thor Hushovd (Nor)

Overall standings: 1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi), 2. Geraint Thomas (GBr), 3. Cadel Evans (Aus), 4. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), 5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra)

The favorites, trailing Cadel Evans: Andy Schleck (22 seconds), Alberto Contador (1:01m), Brad Wiggins (1:10m), Lance Armstrong (1:51m)

Yellow jersey (overall leader): Fabian Cancellara (Swi)
Green jersey (points leader): Thor Hushovd (Nor)
Polka dot jersey (mountains): Jérôme Pineau (Fra)
White jersey (best young rider): Geraint Thomas (GBr)