Contador sees Armstrong stronger for Tour

A united Astana necessary says Spaniard

Alberto Contador thinks his teammate Lance Armstrong will be stronger for the Tour de France this July thanks to his participation in the Giro d'Italia stage race last month.

"He can do it all [at the Tour de France]. The Giro readied him. He will be even stronger and dangerous for everyone," 2007 Tour winner, Contador, told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Armstrong competed in the Giro d'Italia only seven weeks after fracturing his collarbone in the Castilla y León stage race. He finished 12th overall and appears ready to try for an eighth Tour de France title.

"Astana has to be very united. At the Tour we will have strong rivals: [Cadel] Evans, [Carlos] Sastre, [Denis] Menchov. And we will need to pay attention to new riders like [Vincenzo] Nibali, [Robert] Gesink and [Roman] Kreuziger."

Contador is preparing in France at the Dauphiné Libéré stage race. The riders face a 42.4-kilometre time trial today in Valence.

"I only want to test myself. I have not been at my best after a break of 57 days. I came to the Dauphiné to prepare for the Tour. I will also test the new bike again, like I did in Nancy."

An important test will be tomorrow's stage to Mont Ventoux, a mountain-top finish that will appear in the Tour de France's penultimate day.

Armstrong is training at home. He returned to Texas, USA, after the Giro d'Italia for the birth of his fourth child, Max. His pre-Tour race programme is unknown.

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