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Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 13:40 UK

Armstrong reveals Tour concerns

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong will make his comeback at the Tour Down Under in January

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong may not ride in the 2009 race but has confirmed he will compete in the Giro d'Italia for the first time.

The 37-year-old will make his comeback at the Tour Down Under in January after coming out of retirement last month.

And Armstrong told Gazzetta dello Sport's website: "There is the possibility that the Giro is the only three-week stage race that I will run.

"Still today, there are doubts over the Tour de France."

The American used to concentrate on the Tour exclusively but insists he will "give his utmost" in the Giro.

And he added of his participation in the Tour: "Everybody knows its importance but the problems I have with the organisers, journalists and fans could be distracting for my mission - to focus world attention on the battle against cancer."

It had been widely assumed when Armstrong announced his comeback that he would concentrate on the Tour - but the American has still not heard from the organisers about his participation.

"I hope there will be a diplomatic and peaceful solution. Before announcing my return, I contacted organisers but still I have had no reply," he told Gazzetta.

606: DEBATE

"Is it possible they won't invite me? Everything is possible but I would find it incredible, a sort of own goal. I want to be in Paris but in a calm situation."

The three-week Giro, one of the three major stage races along with the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain (Vuelta), will end five weeks before the Tour de France begins on 5 July.

"I've raced for a long time and I never did the Giro which was one of the biggest regrets I ever had," he said.

"Fortunately for myself I get to erase that regret and be there for the 100th year anniversary and maybe get a good result, who knows."

Angelo Zomegnan, the cycling director of RCS Sport - the Giro d'Italia organiser - said he was not surprised that Armstrong had decided to compete in the race for the very first time.

"No cycling champion had ever considered not taking part in the Giro d'Italia and Lance is the only one that, having won the Tour de France in its centenary, could achieve the same mark in the Giro d'Italia centenary," he said.

"Lance knows how much affection the Italians have for him dating back to the years when he lived in Lake Como.

"We should also mention the project of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Livestrong, in which Italy and the Giro will represent the ideal territory to highlight the problems regarding the fight against cancer."

see also
Armstrong comeback gets go-ahead
08 Oct 08 |  Cycling
Armstrong to return with Astana
24 Sep 08 |  Cycling
Mixed reaction to Armstrong news
10 Sep 08 |  Cycling
Armstrong to make shock comeback
10 Sep 08 |  Cycling


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