Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc agreed with Merckx in saying that Armstrong's retirement was fuelled by mental pressures rather than physical decline. "We saw this decision coming," Leblanc told ANP. "He will come to France to try to win the Tour for the seventh time. But I'm not ruling out that his mental tiredness will influence his effectiveness. That's not a wish, not a prediction, but a personal analysis. We should respect his choice. We know his life. He always has to come to Europe while his children are in the USA. This decision is no surprise to me."