Armstrong relaxed and confident at team presentation

Lance Armstrong continued to keep a low media profile as the hours tick down to the start of the 2010 Tour de France, only briefly speaking about his hopes, fears and ambitions for this year's race during the official team presentation.

Most major teams hold pre-race press conference to unveil new sponsors and talk to media on the Thursday or Friday before the start of the Tour. Armstrong's annual appearance in the press room used to be the biggest moment before in the final countdown to the start of the Tour. But his RadioShack team has confirmed their will be no press conference this year.

It has been suggested that Armstrong may want to avoid facing any questions about the recent Floyd Landis accusations and the alleged on-going Federal investigation in the USA.

There were no questions about Armstrong's former US Postal Service teammate when he rolled onto the stage of the team presentation with his RadioShack teammates, and the seven-time Tour winner looked relaxed and eager to race.

"I feel great right now," he said. "Holland is good place to race bikes, I've learned that over the last 17 years, by riding the Amstel Gold Race, seeing the fans and how integrated the bike is in the lifestyle here."

Armstrong announced via Twitter earlier this week that this year would be his last Tour de France, and gave the reasons for his decision.

"I'm almost 39, so I can't go on for ever. I'll ride my bike for as long as my body allows me to, but I've got four kids at home and a fifth on the way and riding with them is more important."

Armstrong admitted his nerves and those of his fellow riders will grow before Saturday's prologue and before the section of cobbles on stage three on Tuesday.

"I'm not stressed now, but the day after tomorrow the stress level will be at the maximum for all 200 guys," he said. "The opening stages make it dangerous for us, but spectacular to watch. We've got to stay cool and stay safe but we've got to make sure it's a great race for the fans."

War of words

Armstrong warned, perhaps in a war of words with Alberto Contador and his other rivals, how the opening and closing days of this year's Tour de France will be vital. He gained 41 seconds last year when the peloton split in the wind near the finish in La Grande Motte and will perhaps be looking for similar gains next Tuesday.

"The first three or four days and the last three or four days make it a complete race," he said.

"It's important to be good from start to finish. Just try to avoid crashing is not enough in the opening days. there's going to be a selection, with pave and the wind. You've got to be up front."

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