First, let me say that I do not want this thread to turn into yet another pointless debate over why "my hero's better than your hero," based on unprovable points such a "who else will win seven Tours de France," "who will still be riding when he's 37," or has the famous Texan really done anything to further cures or preventions of cancer. My point is just that while Astana was telling the world and Contador that Contador was the team leader, the behavior of the team shows that he was not. Consequently, Contador had every right to take the race into his own hands.
Cycle Sport America (Sept. 2009, "Uncivil War," p.38) explains how Contador was dropped in Stage 3.
On the stage to La Grande Motte, when he [Contador, presumably] saw half the squad disappear up the road, with Armstrong and Bruyneel both backing the move, something was clearly going wrong for Contador.
"I was right behind Alberto at the moment the split happened," commented Spanish sprinter Jose Joaquin Rojas to El Pais.
"Alberto was following Paulinho, who was following Zubeldia, so I wasn't worried when Paulinho suddenly sat up and Alberto was caught behind.
"I thought the guys in front wouldn't get very far, but instead they suddenly disappeared up the road and left him up to his neck in it."
This first-hand account serves to corroborate the rumors that George Hincapie had tipped Armstrong that he should be ready to go with a Columbia-High Road attack, that Armstrong had shared this tip with all of Astana except Contador, and Astana used this attack to move Armstrong up against Contador.
That Contador won in spite of his team working against him (except when it also worked in Armstrong's favor), that he kept his own counsel and never spoke ill against his team until it was all over (and then in only the most generalized terms), speaks very clearly for Contador's intelligence and maturity.
TRS will be loaded for bear next year, but Contador will be very difficult to beat no matter who he rides for.