Lance Armstrong will ride the spring classics Team RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel today told the Spanish magazine Biciciclismo. Last year he rode in Milan San Remo, but this time out said Bruyneel his schedule will include the Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Amstel Gold.
The RadioShack team leader will kick things off at the Tour of Murcia in Spain two weeks before Milan San Remo. His final run up to the Tour de France will comprise the Tour of California - RadioShack and Armstrong had already said they would be missing the Giro to ride America's biggest race. Armstrong's fine pre-Tour outing will be in the Dauphiné Libéré a race he won in 2002 and 2003 in the middle of his Tour winning pomp.
Armstrong's participation in the Belgian races almost represents his career coming full circle, prior to his cancer he did ride the Belgian races and with some success. During his Tour de France dominating years Armstrong's critics made much of the fact that he didn't ride the early season classics but they certainly isn't unknown territory for the Texan - he won Fléche Wallone in 1996 and was 2nd in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and in 1999 he was first loser at the Amstel Gold.
On his return to cycling last year it was noted by many that his physique was closer to that of his early career when the classics were firmly a part of his racing agenda leading to speculation that he might ride them again. And although the focussed build up to a target race is now the norm for most top riders Armstrong showed last year that he could handle a more strenuous build up to the Tour – even allowing for his enforced absence from racing brought about by breaking his collarbone in the Vuelta a Castilla y León – and still put in a strong showing in France.
This year's schedule, if it is correct, looks if anything more controlled than his comeback last year some hard single day races early on, followed by stage racing at the Tour of California and the Dauphiné saving his big effort for the Tour itself.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.