Phil Liggett believes Lance Armstrong has the form to finish in the top three at this year’s Tour de France.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on Friday, the veteran British cycling commentator said the seven-time Tour winner has arrived in Monaco with condition similar to his previous campaigns.
"I think he’s in very, very, good form," said Liggett. "He was probably the best of the team at the end of the Giro and I think he’ll come to this Tour prepared like any of his previous Tours. I reckon he’ll be a podium finisher."
Returning to professional cycling after a three-year absence from the sport, Armstrong's comeback plans were disrupted by a crash at the Vuelta Castilla y Leon in March, resulting in a broken collarbone. Liggett believes the incident may, in fact, prove beneficial to Armstrong's Tour ambitions.
"I think the broken collarbone will be a blessing in disguise, because it’s slowed down his preparation," he said. "I think originally he planned on winning the Giro, that was stopped with the broken collarbone and as a result he’s come to the Tour [having finished] the Giro in top form."
Commenting on the potential conflict that may emerge between Astana co-captains Armstrong and Alberto Contador, Liggett indicated that it was the Spaniard who was more likely to be affected by any rivalry between the two.
"Lance is going into the race with an open mind and I think Contador will go into the race not trusting Lance because he’s not English speaking," Liggett continued. "He doesn’t necessarily understand their mentality, so I believe there will be a feeling of mis-trust between them."
Asked about a threat from other teams, Liggett singled out last year's Tour winner, Carlos Sastre. "People aren’t talking about Sastre," he said. "He’s the guy that nobody understands. In the final week of a stage race he’s often the strongest rider and he always rides a clever race, so Armstrong sees him as a big danger and nobody else does."