When Lance Armstrong ended his 3 year retirement and signed with Astana, the biggest welcome came from Levi Leipheirmer. Armstrong, along with team manager Johan Bruyneel, returned the good vibes by signing Leipheimer to Radio Shack for two years.
The Astana roster is half empty and Alberto Contador looks more and more like an orphan in a yellow jersey. A Dickens character with tin cup out — “please sir, may I have some support riders?’ When has a two time tour winner appeared so lost and abandoned, so unsure of his future? At this rate, Astana won’t need a big hotel for the tour and dinner will be just Alberto and Vinokourov. What’s kazak for “pass the bolognese pasta?”
Playing Follow The Lance, Leipheimer was happy with the big move: “The last two years of my career have been the best and that’s because of the team Johan [Bruyneel] assembled,” he said. “I still have the desire and passion to ride the bike. I feel like I’m still getting better.”
No doubt Lance Armstrong is having a bang up time dismantling the team of his chief rival Contador. It’s more fun than hanging with Matthew McConaughy or doing a bit part in Dodgeball. His famous remark that the pistelero had “a lot to learn” probably now includes career management. The immensely talented Spanish rider remains unsure who he will race for next year. Confident in the mountains, clue-less in negotiations.
Now, if Lance can just figure a way to de-stablize the Schleck brothers at Saxo Bank, an eigth tour win at age 39 is in the bag.