Spanish press sees ‘end of Armstrong’

MADRID: Spanish media predicted on Monday that Alberto Contador’s seizure of the yellow jersey in the Tour de France over the weekend hailed the end for Astana teammate Lance Armstrong, a seven-time tour winner.

“Contador marks the end of Armstrong,” reported El Pais which published a photo of the smiling 26-year-old Spanish rider as he doned the yellow jersey which he had not won since his Tour win in 2007. The newspaper stressed that he finished 43 seconds ahead of Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck and one minute and 37 seconds ahead of Armstrong, who the paper said “could not match (Contador’s) uphill rhythm”. “Contador strikes down Armstrong in the Alps,” said El Mundo while conservative daily ABC headlined “Contador buries Armstrong.” The newspaper added: “Once again without a team, he does everything on his own to retire the American myth and gain the lead of the race.”

Contador took the yellow jersey on Sunday during the first Alpine stage of the race from Pontarlier to Verbier. “His faraway attack sinks Armstrong, gives him the yellow jersey and puts an end to the ‘Apartheid’ within Astana,” wrote Publico, in a reference to Armstrong and Astana manager Johan Bruyneel. “The road has put each rider in his place,” said sports daily Marca.

Armstrong indicated after Sunday’s stage that it

would now be difficult for him to aim for an eighth Tour crown.