Astana's Lance Armstrong remains optimistic on his Giro d'Italia chances after completing the Tour of California. Armstrong finished seventh at the race, his first event with a top-level field and challenging climbs since making his return to professional cycling in January.
The Texan will contest Italy's Grand Tour for the first time this May. He's cautiously optimistic on his chances at the famed event.
"Like I've said many times, if I could get top 10 to top five or even top three that would be perfect," Armstrong said. "Having never done the Giro and the Tour [de France], I have to be aware that it's a difficult thing to do.
"It's something I've never experienced but we'll come into the Giro as fit as we can possibly be," he added. "You don't want to kill yourself."
While Armstrong is confident in his abilities, he expects the Italians will be difficult to beat. "I have to admit there are other riders who are more motivated than some of us, guys like [Ivan] Basso or [Damiano] Cunego," he added. "They'll be hard to beat in their national Tour."
Armstrong sounded a warning to his rivals that the Giro will not be a Tour training ride for Astana. The squad returns to Italy as the defending champions, following Alberto Contador's victory at last year's race.
"But don't mistake it. We're not going to be rolling around for three weeks eating pasta and drinking Chianti," said Armstrong. "We're coming to race. I just don't know how strong I will be."
Armstrong made his return to professional cycling in January at Australia's Tour Down Under. The Adelaide-based event's course is predominately flat and its position in the season is generally considered too early for riders of the caliber that California had to compete.