Armstrong downplays Tour de France chances

MADRID: Seven-time Tour of France winner Lance Armstrong believes, at 38, he has little chance of beating arch-rival Alberto Contador of Spain to win an eighth title this year.

"It would be very difficult. I'm 38, Alberto is 27 and he's improving every year. I know it, people know it, Alberto knows it," he told Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Armstrong and Contador were part of the same Astana team in 2009, but their relationship was tense with the American finishing third overall behind winner Contador. Armstrong later left for the US team RadioShack.

This weekend he finished seventh in Spain's Tour of Murcia, won by Czech Frantisek Rabon.

But the Texan, whose main objective this year is the Tour de France in July, told El Pais he felt he was a "better cyclist" now than in 2009, when he returned to the sport after a four-year absence.

Contador was Tour de France champion in 2007 and 2009.