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CYCLING / TOUR DE FRANCE

Alberto Contador: 'No tensions' with Lance Armstrong

The 2007 Tour winner says there is no rift between him and the seven-time champion. But which of the two is the Astana team's leader remains in question.

July 14, 2009

Alberto Contador is playing down tensions between him and Lance Armstrong, a rivalry that has left a glaring unresolved issue at the Tour de France: Astana's leadership remains in question while these former champions vie for the yellow jersey.

Armstrong told French television on Sunday that relations with his Spanish teammate are strained after nine stages of cycling's showcase race. Contador said during Monday's rest day in Limoges he has grown weary of the debate.

"It's a subject which is starting to tire me a bit," he said. "It's too repetitive. For me there are no tensions. I am totally relaxed and focused on the competition."

Armstrong won seven straight Tours from 1999 to 2005 and is aiming for another title as he comes out of 3 1/2 years of retirement. Contador, unable to defend his 2007 title last year because of Astana's team ban, is intent on adding to his growing list of achievements. He already has won the tours of France, Italy and Spain -- something Armstrong has not done.

Going into today's 10th stage, Contador was in second place. He was two seconds ahead of Armstrong, who was third. Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy held the yellow jersey, six seconds ahead of Contador.

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Today's stage: After enjoying a rest day Monday, the competitors tackle a 120.9-mile ride from Limoges to Issoudun, which should favor sprinters. No electronic communication will be allowed between riders and their sports directors during the stage, despite the opposition of a majority of the teams.

-- Associated Press

Destination Issoudun: Issoudun is home to the Tour Blanche (White Tower), built in the 12th century for protection, now offering breathtaking views of the countryside. The town has one of the region's most beautiful museums, as well as a broadcast cen- ter for the TDF Group, a French telecommunications company.

-- Lauren Goldman

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OVERALL STANDINGS

Rinaldo Nocentini, Italy

34:24:21

Alberto Contador, Spain

:06 behind

Lance Armstrong, United States

:08 behind

Levi Leipheimer, United States

:39 behind

Bradley Wiggins, Britain

:46 behind

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