Levi Leipheimer Slams Contador's Tactics

Ken BlackContributor IJuly 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CA - FEBRUARY 21:  Levi Leipheimer of the USA and riding for Astana rides in the peloton in the overall race leader's jersey during Stage 7 of the AMGEN Tour of California from Santa Clarita to Pasadena on February 21, 2009 in Los Angeles County, California. Leipheimer if followed by teammate Lance Armstrong (R) of the USA and riding for Astana.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Levi Leipheimer publicly called out Alberto Contrador for the second time in the Tour de France. The first time he did so was at the top of Arcalis in Stage 7. Most recently, it was Wednesday after Stage 17.

Leipheimer said, at the end of Stage 7, Contador went against the team's directives when he attacked up the Pyrenees. It may have eventually cost Armstrong a chance at the yellow jersey, at least for this tour.

Now, even though Leipheimer is out of the competition with a broken wrist, he made his feelings known about Contador's latest move up Col de la Colombiere. Contador, who had managed to separate himself from all but Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck and his own teammate, Andreas Kloden, decided to attack again.

All he managed to do was leave behind his only ally in the group -- Kloden.

"Well that wasn't a good move!!," Leipheimer said on Twitter. "Now Alberto is isolated and Andreas is dropped!"

Later, he would say that if Kloden missed the podium by two or three minutes, everyone would know where it was he lost it. Implicit in that was everyone would also know why he lost it -- because of Contador's attack.

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Afterward, Leipheimer would reiterate he was a teammate of Contador and supported him.

"I AM a fan of Alberto but that was not a good move," he added.

The fact is that despite all the sayings to the contrary, such statements do seem to indicate a tension still exists between Contador and the American members of the Astana team at least. This is likely while Contador will be leaving Astana at the end of the year, whether or not the team is still around in its current form or with its current sponsor.

It should also be noted that both moves hurt fellow teammate Lance Armstrong, who was well behind the action when all the attacking took place that dropped Kloden. But it worked to further push Armstrong down the standings.

Planned or not, everything Contador did in Stage 17 did nothing to hurt his closest rivals, other than Armstrong. The team cannot be too pleased.


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