Cagey Contador loses nothing in translation
"I have no relationship with Lance. I don't speak to him. He is working on his future and I am working on mine."
Comprende? Loud and clear, Alberto, loud and clear.
But that isn't going to stop people like me asking because Lance Armstrong versus Alberto Contador - team-mates, apparently - was this summer's sporting highlight.
Thrown together in the unlikeliest of Tour de France partnerships, the two riders fought like cats in a bag for most of the race only for Contador to settle the argument where it really mattered, on the road.
Sometimes funny, often bitchy, their sparring, on and off the bike, was never anything but engrossing. And best of all they're going to do it all over again next July and this time they don't have to pretend to be on the same side.
But before I get too carried away with next year, I should probably explain the background to the opening quote.
Alberto Contador and Tour de France team-mate Lance Armstrong "celebrate" on the podium in Paris
I normally steer clear of behind-the-scenes stuff - to paraphrase Bismarck, news stories are a bit like sausages, it is better not to see them being made - but I'll make an exception this time as it might shed some light on how LA v AC became cycling's answer to Borg v McEnroe, Prost v Senna or Southend v Colchester.
A few weeks ago, a PR man phoned to offer an interview with Contador. A broadcast exclusive, he said, at London's Cycle Show, he added.
Brilliant, I thought: the chance to talk to the world's best cyclist, on camera, only 20 minutes down the road and it's an exclusive.
Can you get me 18 holes with Tiger Woods, a private tennis lesson from Maria Sharapova and a lift home with Lewis Hamilton as well?
And then I complicated things. "What's his English like?" I asked.
"Ah", the PR man said, "not great. Will that be a problem?"
Well, I suppose that depends whether you think Contador's spats with Armstrong - conducted in the heat of battle, usually in translation - were a problem, I thought but didn't say out loud.
Not that I really needed a response, the answer came soon enough.
Contador will do the interview in English, the PR man said, providing you email the questions now so he can practise them, he can have a couple of interpreters there and you don't pull any last-minute surprises with your line of inquiries (so no Qs about you know what).
Comprende? Loud and clear, Alberto, loud and clear.
I'll fast-forward now to the interview. All in all, it went OK, considering the fact Contador was clearly nervous about speaking in a foreign language and determined not to fan Tour de France flames that have just about died down.
Died down but not extinguished.
Watch Matt Slater's exclusive interview with the Tour de France great Alberto Contador
The 26-year-old was charm personified when asked about British cycling, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, and he gave thoughtful replies to my questions about his Olympic ambitions and his place in the sport's history books, but it was Armstrong that brought the most considered responses.
Given all that has happened between them, it's hardly surprising.
From the moment the American announced his surprise return to cycling, the two (very different) men were probably guaranteed to clash.
They might have just avoided it if they had been out-and-out adversaries, but when Contador's team manager (and Lance's old pal) Johan Bruyneel signed Armstrong to join the Astana all-stars, a head-on collision was the only possible result.
How could the most famous cyclist in the world - a best-selling author, a fund-raising phenomenon, a friend of the rich and famous - accept second-class status to a rider who had finished over an hour behind him in 2005? Who could boss "The Boss"?
Contador, on the other hand, could rightly wonder what on earth had just happened. He was coming off a season that had seen him win the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana - a feat that made him only the fifth rider in history, and the youngest, to have claimed all three of cycling's Grand Tours.
Was he now expected to return to the ranks? Wasn't this supposed to be his team?
What happened next was the mother of all turf wars - three weeks of pure playground one-upmanship.
Armstrong, back on his favourite platform, scored the early victories: getting on the right side of a split in the peloton in the third stage and then revelling in the media's appreciation of his cycling smarts.
Four days later, Contador hit back when he accelerated away from Armstrong and the other leading contenders on the climb to Andorra Arcalis. It was the kind of initiative-seizing stunt Armstrong used to pull in his pomp. It was also probably against Astana team orders.
Contador took complete control a week later on the ascent to Verbier. No amount of smarts could compensate for the younger man's legs and lungs. It was magnificent and emphatic.
As a cycling contest between the two, the rest of the Tour was slightly disappointing (the Schleck brothers had a pop at Contador but even their tag-team approach couldn't unsettle the Spaniard).
But even as you witnessed Contador's calm progress to Paris, you had to admire Armstrong's pursuit of a podium place, and you knew he was already plotting a return to the top step in 2010.
Which brings us to this week's unveiling of the battleground for Armstrong v Contador II.
They were both in Paris on Wednesday, side-by-side for the cameras but miles apart really, to help publicise next year's route - a zigzag through the Low Countries followed by a clockwise loop of France.
With four days in the Pyrenees - to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tour's inaugural visit - and two trips up the brutal Col du Tourmalet to look forward to, it appeared at first glance to be a good result for Contador.
But like a good cricket pitch, there is something in it for Armstrong too. The cobbled-stone sections in Belgium and northern France will play to his superior bike-handling skills and Contador's advantage in the mountains will be tempered by the surprisingly high number of valley-floor finishes.
Add to that the support Armstrong will gain from his hand-picked Radio Shack team (with the faithful Bruyneel at the helm) and the American, who was a little undercooked this year after injuring himself in the Giro, will be entitled to think an eighth Tour victory is possible.
Possible but not probable - far more likely is a third victory for Contador, who is resigned to racing for the always-interesting Astana for another season (Armstrong and Contador were reunited briefly in Paris to deflect the by now traditional fresh doping allegations that dog the team and the sport in general).
When I asked him in London about Armstrong coming back at him even harder next year, "El Pistolero" didn't seem unduly perturbed.
"Lance has a new team so, yes, he will be dangerous. But it's OK, I believe in me and my concentration and my team. So we will see."
Indeed we will, Alberto, indeed we will.