Tour de France champion Alberto Contador and former seven-time champion Lance Armstrong are no longer pretending they are friends. In fact, they have been sniping pretty hard back and forth at each other.
But what Contador may not realize is that he is taking on one of the most beloved figures in the world. So what is said by each party is not necessarily what the public hears.
Contador:"My relationship with Lance Armstrong is zero. He's a great rider and he did a great Tour. Another thing is on a personal level, where I have never admired him and never will."
What we hear: "I am pro-cancer. I hope everyone gets cancer and dies. That is, everyone but me. Ha-ha! Oh, but for the record, I don't mean 'Ha-ha!' as in 'I'm joking.' I mean that I will laugh joyously while everyone around me dies of cancer."
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Armstrong, via Twitter:"Hey pistolero, there is no 'I' in 'team'. what did I say in March? Lots to learn. Restated."
What we hear: "Sorry to hear you're pro-cancer. Obviously, you are just a terrible person. By the way, there is no 'I' in 'team.' Up for some other word play? Okay. Do you know what 'Contador' rhymes with? 'Your mom's a whore.' Ironic, right? Because she is a whore!"
Armstrong, via Twitter: "Seeing these comments from AC. If I were him I'd drop this drivel and start thanking his team. w/o them, he doesn't win. A champion is also measured on how much he respect his teammates and opponents."
What we hear: "Has anyone heard Alberto Contador denounce cancer since my last Tweet? Yeah, me neither. It's obvious now more than never: Alberto Contador loves cancer. Specifically: cancer of the balls and brain."
Contador:"It was a tense situation [competing on the same team]. We didn't have fluid communication despite the fact that we were the two main riders on the team. And this meant the rest of the cyclists and the technical staff also felt a bit of tension.Wherever I go [in 2009] I will look for a teammate who is with me 100 percent."
What we hear: "It's probably not wise for me to come right out and say it but, yeah, I love cancer. IT RULZ! Hope you all die of it. LOL! Next year I hope I have a teammate who is 100 percent, i.e. not missing parts of himself due to cancer. Gross! Anyway gimme a C! Gimme A! Gimme an N! No? No one's joining me? Losers. I hope you get a really painful, quick cancer. Pancreatic maybe."