Mis­sion im­pos­si­ble... but those are the odds Arm­strong lives for!

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

LANCE Arm­strong has ad­mit­ted he might be a “fool” to think he could win an eighth Tour de France, but that he’s go­ing to keep try­ing any­way.

“I think I can win the Tour again. I might be a fool to think that, but I’m go­ing to go down my fool­ish way and find out,” said the 38-year-old Texan in Ade­laide, as he headed for his pri­vate jet and the long flight back to Amer­ica af­ter com­pet­ing in the Tour Down Un­der.

“It’s some­thing I think would be pos­si­ble,” Arm­strong said.

“It’s go­ing to be the hard­est one to win. The com­pe­ti­tion is bet­ter than it ever has been be­fore.”

To most eyes, Arm­strong is looking much fit­ter now than at the Tour Down Un­der last year, when he re­turned to Pro-Tour cycling af­ter a three-year ab­sence, and his Di­recteur Sportif at Ra­dioShack, Jo­han Bruyneel, is ac­cen­tu­at­ing the pos­i­tive.

“Lance is good. He’s a lot dif­fer­ent than last year. Phys­i­cally, his form is a lot bet­ter, he feels good in the bunch and he feels good in the team, so that’s three things that are bet­ter than last year,” Bruyneel said.

Dave Brails­ford, prin­ci­pal of Bri­tain’s Team Sky, has de­scribed Arm­strong as the “bench­mark” and warns it would be a mis­take to write off his chances.

“He’s def­i­nitely got it in him for an­other Tour de France and be­ing right up there, there’s no doubt about it,” he said.

“Whether he can win it or not, time will tell. You can’t say that he will, but you cer­tainly can’t say that he can’t. As long as you say that Lance Arm­strong can’t, then he’s in with a chance.”

Arm­strong feels the 2010 Tour de France could be the most dif­fi­cult to win of his ca­reer.

He reck­ons Al­berto Con­ta­dor is a prime ex­am­ple of the new breed of cy­clist and will be a lot tougher nut to crack than say the Jan Ul­rich or Marco Pan­ta­nis of old.

Be­sides be­ing a dy­namic clim­ber, Con­ta­dor has de­vel­oped his time-tri­alling skills to such an ex­tent he has be­come one of the best in the world at the dis­ci­pline and his tac­ti­cal nous and bunch-rid­ing skills have im­proved be­yond all recog­ni­tion.

Arm­strong said ev­ery Tour d’France he won he thought would be the tough­est at the time yet, looking back, he re­alises they were rel­a­tively eas­ily.

At times Arm­strong ad­mits to not hav­ing been the best cy­clist on the Tour, but some­how the pieces would fall in place and he would emerge the win­ner, and he has al­ways cited his mer­ce­nary train­ing sched­ule as his se­cret to suc­cess.

How­ever, the Texan feels this year he will not only need that vi­tal bit of luck, but also faces added pres­sure in that he knows he can­not af­ford a sin­gle mis­take or have one off-day ... if he is to emerge vic­to­ri­ous. – The Tele­graph, Sports Staff

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