Sports News

Armstrong offers to teach Contador how to relax

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong of the U.S. (L) talks to 2007 Tour de France winner and team mate Alberto Contador of Spain as they ride together during a training session with Armstrong's new team Astana, in Tenerife, Spain's Canary Islands, December 5, 2008. REUTERS/Paul Hanna

PARIS (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong has offered to teach Alberto Contador how to relax, saying the Spanish rider is too nervous.

“It is obvious he still has a lot to learn,” seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong said in an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe on Tuesday.

“He is the best rider in the world but the only negative point, and I respectfully say that, is that he is too nervous... He is too good to be so nervous.”

Last week, Armstrong said his Astana team mate had much to learn after watching him collapse in the penultimate stage of the Paris-Nice race while wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

Armstrong, who won a record seven Tours de France from 1999 to 2005, came out of a 3-1/2-year retirement this season and will partner the 26-year-old Contador in the Tour in July.

Contador, who won the Tour in 2007 and both the Giro and the Tour of Spain last year, and Armstrong will race together for the first time in next week’s Tour of Castilla y Leon.

“(Contador) can learn from me and from (Astana manager) Johan (Bruyneel),” the 37-year-old American told L’Equipe.

“I know a lot of things about cycling...and the best thing to learn is how to relax. That is why we have decided to race together in the Tour of Castilla y Leon.”

Armstrong said he would be at his best at the start of the Tour on July 4, though not at the start of the Giro in May.

Writing by Bertrand Boucey; Editing by Clare Fallon