The 2009 race programme of Lance Armstrong is becoming clearer, as the American will participate in the Giro d'Italia. The three week-race runs from May 9 through May 31, 2009.
Armstrong told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he was looking forward to the Corsa Rosa. "I can't wait until May, I am so excited to be coming to the 2009 Giro d'Italia. I raced a long time professionally and I never did the Giro. It is one of the biggest regrets I ever had."
Armstrong added that 2009 will be a perfect opportunity to change this. "Fortunately for myself, I get to erase this regret and be there at the 100-year anniversary and, who knows, maybe with a good result." The latter statement indicated that the ambitious American will not just want to finish the race and hope to raise awareness for his global cancer campaign.
With the earlier preparation races in Australia and the United States, Armstrong looks set to do a good Giro. Armstrong then proceeded to greet the Italian tifosi. "I am looking forward to seeing you all and arrivederci."
Giro race director Angelo Zomegnan welcomed Armstrong. "The relations between me and Armstrong were intact even when he retired in 2005. This year, I sensed there was a possibility that Lance would return. This perception became concrete after his extraordinary performance on August 9, at the Leadville 100."
Zomegnan then took action. "I officially invited Lance to the Giro on September 29, during my trip to Austin, Texas."
Zomegnan is happy to see Armstrong back from retirement. "No other past cycling great denied himself participation in the Giro," Zomegnan explained, referring to Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
Armstrong previously announced that he will ride the Tour Down Under and the Tour of California.
His Giro d'Italia participation may be an indication that Armstrong's teammate, Alberto Contador, will be the protected leader in the Tour de France. The Tour de France is Contador's only objective for the season.
Armstrong made a surprise return to professional racing in September this year.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel