Bjarne Riis, the man who led Carlos Sastre to Tour de France victory last year, warned Lance Armstrong he should be ready to struggle over the next three weeks against younger rivals. “Lance is obviously not too old. He will probably be very good and play a great role in this Tour,” the Saxobank team leader told a news conference on Thursday.
“But to be honest, to beat younger riders like (Alberto) Contador, Andy or Frank Schleck in the climbs, I don't think it is possible,” he said.
Armstrong, 37, is attempting to add an eighth Tour crown to his unprecedented collection with a strong Astana team which probably includes his most serious rival, 2007 Tour winner Contador.
Teams with too many potential leaders usually fail but Riis, the Tour winner in 1996, led Spain's Carlos Sastre to victory in a team which also included pre-race favourites Frank and Andy Schleck.
“Astana is a very impressive team but I believe that if they want to win the Tour, they should have just one leader and it should be Contador,” Riis said.