Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro

Lance to tackle Italy's grand tour for the first time

by Tony Farrelly   October 13, 2008  

Armstrong 2005.JPG

Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will race in next year's Giro d'Italia according to the news agency Reuters. This would be the firs time he has ever ridden the race. His reason for adding it to his comeback schedule say the organizers is that it fits in with his aim of raising awareness of the fight against Cancer. The 37-year-old, who retired in 2005, will compete in the May 9-31 race before bidding for an eighth Tour title in July. "I will give my utmost, and not only to prepare for the Tour," Armstrong said in a statement from race organizers RCS Sport. "Not having taken part in the Giro was one of my biggest regrets as a rider. Finally I will be able to do it." Armstrong's first race back will be in January's Tour Down Under in Australia after he was cleared to compete by the International Cycling Union (UCI) last week. Riders making comebacks have to be in the UCI's anti-doping program for six months prior to racing but the governing body has made an exception for Armstrong, who announced he was returning to the sport only last month. Armstrong, who fought off cancer and was latterly dogged by unproven doping allegations during his career, is partly making a comeback with the Astana team to promote a global cancer awareness campaign. The Giro will be celebrating its centenary next year. The route has yet to be announced. There is no word yet from the Astana team on who would be the designated team leader Armstrong or 2008 Giro winner Alberto Contador. Given that raising cancer awareness is such a big part of the reason for Lance's comeback the announcement of his Giro entry also raises the intriguing prospect that he may also enter the Vuelta too.