Lance Armstrong promised on Tuesday not to try to overhaul his Astana team mate Alberto Contador as overall race leader but still allowed himself to dream of an eighth Tour de France victory.
The 37-year-old American, back in the saddle after three-and-a-half years in retirement, is second overall, one minute 37 seconds behind the Spaniard after the 16th stage.
A team leader who would not share the power when he was dominating the Tour from 1999 to 2005, Armstrong said: "I'm comfortable and happy [being second].
"I can think back to my years when I was the leader of the team and if someone even remotely considered going against the directions we would have sent him home the next day.
"Idon't want to be like that."
However,Armstrong, who acknowledged on Sunday that Contador was the best rider on the Tour, said circumstances could help him to an eighth win on the French roads.
"It'sa tough race with a lot of tough stages to go and I don't think Alberto will make a mistake," he said.
"Butyou have a time trial coming up when you can go a little closer, then the Mont Ventoux is on Saturday.
"Youcould paint a picture when it's possible. But I'm not planning that, I'm not scheming that."
Armstrong's resilience will be tested again on Wednesday when the 17th stage takes the peloton through five difficult ascents over 169km before Thursday's time trial in Annecy.