Lance Armstrong is hoping this is a deja vu in his favor. Arch rival and Tour de France favorite Alberto Contador trying to shake a Radio Shack climber and failing. Yeah, that would be sweet. Maybe even sweeter than Floyd Landis being run over by Mennonite hay cart.
Janez Brajkovic of Radio Shack stayed with the Spaniard all the way up the mythic Alpe d’Huez climb and kept a firm and now perhaps final hold on the leaders jersey. Contador climbed into second but more importantly failed to climb into first. The young Contador could not pull away from the even younger man in the red and grey Radio Shack jersey. Lance is lovin’ that.
El Pistolero did his usual accelerations but Brajkovic had the legs and confidence to tsay with the superstar climber. And that is worth multiple tweets from the man from Austin. After a strong showing in the Tour of California, the Slovenian is putting on a show in that French country with the big three week tour in two weeks. Slovenian, Fastovenian, hmmm, curious.
All that sounds groovy and positive except that when it came to who had the strongest pre-tour team, Astana or Radio Shack. If you want a scorecard, it was the Kwazy Kazak squad that was in control. When Brajkovic lost Horner, Contador still had two or three light and blue Astana folks with him. That might be even more worrisome to Armstrong than BALCO investigator Jeff Novizky.
Alberto got in his gun salute with the stage win and it was certainly a loss for any Radio Shack hopes that Astana with show up at the Tour de France with some cobbled together B team.
But in the short term, it’s a Shack celebration for a strong and motivated Janez Brajkovic. Janez took care of Alberto — now can Lance Armstrong do the same in a few weeks?