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Lance Armstrong: ‘Best man won in 2009, and it wasn’t me’

Texan refuses to get into war of words with Contador over 2009 Tour, but admits 'best man won'

Lance Armstrong won’t get into a tit-for-tat with former teammate Alberto Contador about behind-the-scenes tensions during the 2009 Tour de France.

But he did emphatically say that the now-retired Contador deserved the yellow jersey during the pair’s contentious Tour that played out on the roads of France and inside the team bus.

“There really is no comment,” Armstrong said Monday. “What I will say is that the best man won in 2009.”

Over the weekend, Contador offered new insight into the bitter rivalry between the two riders during the 2009 Tour. That year saw Armstrong — in his ill-fated return to professional racing — and Contador butt heads throughout the Tour over leadership of the powerful Astana team.

Speaking during a YouTube interview, Contador recounted how he was forced to buy his own set of wheels from a rival team for the opening time trial in Nice. The Spaniard, who went on to win the 2009 Tour, also revealed how Armstrong and he got into a heated confrontation after a team meeting in the day following Contador’s attack in Andorra that put Contador ahead in the virtual GC.

“Everyone got out, and it was just Lance and me alone on the bus,” said Contador, recounting the scene of the morning after. “He took me to the back room of the bus, which used to be shared among everyone, but since he came back it was his, and he said, ‘Don’t fuck me.’ That pushed the tension through the roof.”

Since that interview broke over the weekend, Armstrong said he’s been contacted by journalists for comment on Contador’s latest public declarations. Speaking on his Instagram account, Armstrong repeated that Contador was the deserved winner of the 2009 Tour.

“Life is all about going forward, so I have no desire to go back and try to figure out who picked fights on the bus, or who got wheels, or who got these things,” Armstrong said. “It doesn’t matter — the best man won the race, and it wasn’t me.”

Contador won the 2009 edition, with Armstrong finishing third. Contador won again in 2010 in Astana colors, only to see that victory stripped as part of his clenbuterol case. Armstrong founded the RadioShack team in 2010, yet struggled to finish 23rd in that year’s Tour. Armstrong retired at the 2011 Tour Down Under, and was eventually stripped of all of his seven Tour victories and other results as part of the USADA case in 2012.