Radio Shack at Criterium International: not built, but building.

There is an A in Team.

Lance Armstrong said it back in December: “I’m 38, going to be 39 this racing season, so it would be irresponsible to build the team around me.”

He wasn’t lying. In the opening stage of the Criterium International, Armstrong lost five minutes on the Ospedale climb in Corsica. “My day was not very spectacular, I can tell you that, but I couldn’t expect it to be,” said Armstrong.

However, results for the Radio Shack team as a whole were pretty positive, even encouraging. Radio Shack’s Portuguese boy wonder Tiago Machado took second place. While Tour de France super domestique Chris Horner continued his strong Spring with a top ten placing along with up and comer Ben Herman.

In the stage three time trial, a short and technical 7.7 kilometer race around Porto Vecchio, Armstrong was again less than spectacular. He clocked the 15th fastest time, 19 seconds slower than winner David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) and 17 behind arch rival, Alberto Contador.

While noting that he’d improved on recent efforts, he was disappointed. “It was not a consistent time trial with lots of turns, and ups and downs and roundabouts but it was much better than in Murcia, much steadier,” said Armstrong.

Yet as Armstrong had said, the team was deep and highly motivated, Machado and Horner again posted fast time trials with El Pistolero Junior taking third place overall while Horner nabbed 7th.

Perhaps more valuable than the individual accomplishments of Armstrong was the collective strength of Radio Shack. They won second place honors in the team competition at the Criterium International. The squad of Alberto Contador managed just seventh place.

March is a long way from July 3rd and le Grand depart of the Tour de France. But old man Armstrong must be pleased to know the Radio Shack team is headed in the right direction.

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4 Responses to “Radio Shack at Criterium International: not built, but building.”

  1. There is a spelling error in the text above: it's written "pistolero", not "pistelero".

    I'm sorry to use my very first comment in here to point out an error for it does not reflect my opinion of your blog. I do enjoy reading your posts and I sincerely hope you keep up the good work.

    [Since English is not my mother tongue – as Spanish is clearly not yours… =) -, please forgive me for any spelling or grammar mistakes.]

    • My brother did well in spelling contests but I never did. Spelling in Spanish is even worse. Thanks for the "catch" on that. I corrected it immediately. If you're writing from Spain, what's your opinion of Armstrong? Thanks for reading. Matt

  2. Well, I am writing from Portugal, not Spain. However, as most Portuguese do, I understand a bit of Spanish and, therefore, I was able to spot that minor error.

    In answer to your question, I have a fairly good opinion of Armstrong. His seven wins on the Tour made him a living legend and, as I started watching cycling only ten years ago, he is certainly my greatest reference in the sport.

    However, as you surely know, Armstrong is not the most beloved cyclist in Europe by far. He is American, arrogant and *too* ambitious – in other words, he fits the stereotype Europeans love to hate perfectly. Nevertheless, I believe he mostly inspires mixed feelings: on the one hand, there is a general dislike for his personality but, on the other hand, most people actually admire him for what he has achieved.

    Since you mentioned Spain, I would say Spanish media present the most obvious exception to this general feeling but, hey, Spanish journalists are renowned for being extremely partisan in favour of their national athletes. Even French newspaper L’Équipe, which, for many years, published not so kind articles on Armstrong, has expressed admiration for him (e.g., “Chapeau le Texan” written across the front page on the day of the final stage of last year’s Tour).

    Personally, I have no favourite between Armstrong and Contador. As long as they provide a good spectacle in July, I will be fine with whoever wins.