Porto-Vecchio - Experienced Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde said on Friday that outstanding Tour de France favourite Chris Froome was not unbeatable, as he eyes a place on the podium when the race ends in Paris.
Valverde, 33, has never previously had a top-three finish on the Tour and is not widely expected to trouble the leading contenders.
But he was in confident mood at a Movistar team news conference in Porto-Vecchio, where the first stage of the 100th edition of the race gets under way on Saturday.
"We can aspire to do something more than just win a couple of stages," said Valverde, a talented all-rounder who won a mountain stage in the Pyrenees in last year's Tour.
"We have a very strong team and our aim is to be in a position to fight for a place on the podium in Paris."
The former Tour of Spain champion acknowledged that Britain's Froome was the favourite for overall victory but believed he has improved with age and feels that a way can be found to get the better of Team Sky.
"I am 33 now and have had moments of happiness and disappointment in my career but we are convinced that we can do well," he said.
"The Tour is very long and for all he has done this season Froome is the big favourite.
"He has a great team around him and they will be difficult to beat - but they are not invincible.
"I think with a bit of luck I can go head to head with him and get on to the podium. I respect Froome but I am not afraid of anyone."
Valverde, whose career was marred by a two-year doping ban handed down as part of the Operation Puerto investigation, also refused to rule out the prospect of teaming up with compatriot Alberto Contador in a coalition against Team Sky.
"For the moment everyone is working for their own team but why not later on? There are various Spanish riders out there who can fight for a place on the podium," he said.