Alberto Contador Wins 2008 Vuelta
Gold For Alberto Contador, silver for Levi Leipheimer, Bronze for Carlos Sastre.
Gallopin. "I am proud they all worked for the same goal, bringing Alberto in that Gold Jersey to Madrid. It is not so evident that potential Grand Tour winners, like Andreas Klöden and Levi Leipheimer, took on the role as 'super domestiques'."
Team Manager Johan Bruyneel was extremely proud as well. "We will toast this victory tonight, not only for Alberto Contador, but for the Astana team as a whole. It should be clear that we have our place in all big cycling events. We proved this year to be the best team for stage races. Organizers who don't want us punish themselves and seem to devalue their own race. We've proved how professionally we have conducted ourselves throughout the entire season. I cannot be more proud. The season is not over yet, but the mission is already more than accomplished. We have the support of the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, of the Kazakh Cycling Federation and of our Kazakh sponsors. The Astana cycling team is not a commercial initiative. The intent is to promote cycling and the future of this sport, not only in Kazakhstan. I received guarantees that this is not a short term initiative. We will continue to build a strong team. As the country of Kazakhstan gave us these opportunities, we are glad to carry that blue flag to the rest of the world. As a bonus, our results are a nice present for the tenth anniversary of the City of Astana."
Bruyneel's comments about the team not being a commercial nitiative are very interesting when taking Lance Armstong's announced comeback into account. Armstrong has announced that he wants to return to cycling to launch an international cancer strategy. This fits well with Bruyneel's comments about the team being non-commercial.
"Hey everybody. I know there's been a lot of reports in the media today about a possible return to racing. I just wanna let you know that after long talks with my kids, the rest of my family, a close group of friends I have decided to return to professional cycling in 2009. The reason for this is to launch an international cancer strategy, based on the fact that we lose 8 million people around the world to this disease - more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined - I will announce the entire initiative, as well as the other plans for the comeback on September the 24th at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. So until then, take care and live strong," Armstrong told Roadcycling.com on September 9 this year.
It appears more and more likely that Lance Armstrong will join Team Astana. Former Armstrong teammate and current Astana rider Chechu Rubiera previously this month cancelled his announced retirement from cycling. Likely because he's looking forward to new ventures together with Armstrong.
It will be interesting to see how the team will manage to have four potential grand tour winners on the team without any conflicts arising. Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com to find out. The 2009 cycling season will certainly be exciting.