Seven time champion Armstrong has come out of retirement to ride again.”There are also the language and cultural barriers between them. If you see things go well on the road, you tend to see things going well at the dinner table.”The rivalry between Lance and Alberto is obviously something the media has picked up on, but anything like that we have to put out of our minds.”Spaniard Contador won in 2007 but his new team were barred entry into last year’s race because of several positive drugs tests returned by former riders.Reigning champion Carlos Sastre is back, now at the helm of the Cervelo Test Team.And Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck, Australian Cadel Evans and Giro d’Italia winner Denis Menchov of Russia are also contenders for overall victory.Starting with the 9.6 mile prologue time trial in Monaco, the event will cover 2,150 miles, in 21 stages, stopping off in Spain, Andorra, Switzerland and Italy as well as France.Along with Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and David Millar who both ride for Team Garmin Slipstream and Charles Wegelius make up the British contingent in the race’s 180 strong field.But Cavendish, who rides for the Columbia HTC team, is likely to hog the limelight.After a strong start to the season that included victory in three stages of the Giro d’Italia and the Milan San Remo Classic, he bids to become the first Brit to win a Tour jersey since Robert Millar was King of the Mountains in 1987.Speaking to BBC Sport earlier this month, Cavendish said his main aim this year is to finish the race for the first time, although he believes there are “six or seven” stages that could suit him.Four of those come in the first week, with a visit to Barcelona before the race moves into the Pyrenees, and more come in week two, before the riders reach the Alps.”I’ve done two Tours now and won four stages last year but I didn’t reach Paris,” he said.”Sure, it would be nice to win four stages again but in the Tour de France you’ve got to be content with one stage win and I will be as long as I reach Paris.wholesale nfl jerseys from china“If I reach Paris and I win as much as I can along the way, maybe the green jersey comes then. But I won’t be disappointed if I don’t have it.”Cavendish, who struggles in the mountains, will have to deal with seven mountain stages if he is to reach Paris.And the toughest of them all will be the climb of Mont Ventoux in Provence, when the Tour has a mountain finish on its penultimate stage for the first time in its 96th running.Armstrong, who won the race from 1999 to 2005, believes Ventoux will be key but has spent the week before the race training in the Alps around Annecy, where the potentially decisive time trial takes place on 23 July.Armstrong, 37, broke his collarbone in March but took part in the Giro d’Italia, which he finished in 12th place overall, almost 16 minutes behind Menchov.”It’s not going to be easy to win,” he admitted.”In December and January, I thought it would be easier.
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