- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PARIS (AP) - Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has criticized 2007 winner Alberto Contador, telling a French sports daily that his Astana teammate still has “a lot to learn” about racing.

Armstrong’s comments followed Contador’s fourth-place finish at last week’s Paris-Nice cycling race. The pre-race favorite lost three minutes and the yellow jersey on the penultimate day of racing. Contador said he had run out of energy, forgetting to eat in the excitement of what was a hotly contested stage.

“Contador has a lot to learn,” Armstrong said in comments published in Tuesday’s edition of L’Equipe.

Armstrong was not all critical of Contador, however.

“He’s the best in the world,” the Texan said of his teammate. “His only negative trait, and I say this with much respect, it’s that he’s too nervous. He’s too strong to be so nervous.”

Armstrong announced his return to professional cycling in September after a three-year hiatus, declaring that his goal would be to stand atop the podium in Paris in 2009. But with the 2007 Tour champion riding for the same team, it remains unclear which of the two will be the leader in July.

Armstrong and Contador will race together for Astana for the first time next week at the Tour of Castilla y Leon in Spain.

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