Lance Armstrong is aiming for a stage win in the Giro d'Italia, one week after he finished second in the Tour of the Gila, and nearly seven weeks after he fractured his collarbone. The American lines up for the Italian Grand Tour, May 9 to 31, for the first time in his career as part of a comeback.
"I will be very unsatisfied if I don't win a stage," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. " A mountain or time trial stage would mean the same."
The Giro d'Italia is Armstrong's first race in Europe since he broke his collarbone on day one of the Castilla y León stage race. He left for the USA where doctors immediately performed surgery.
Armstrong's setback means that American Levi Leipheimer, 18th last year, will likely lead the team. The two dominated the Tour of the Gila, where Leipheimer won the overall and two stages, and Armstrong finished second overall.
"I'm resting after a long trip. Last week's Tour of the Gila was fantastic. I will need to go better in the second part of the Giro. But the Venice team time trial is a course suited to my team and we can win."
Armstrong could also take the race leader's maglia rosa if his team wins the team time trail on Venice's Lido. He said that team manager Johan Bruyneel will decide who is first over the line. Armstrong ruled himself out of winning the race overall when it finishes in Rome on May 31.
"[Ivan] Basso, [Danilo] Di Luca, [Stefano] Garzelli, [Denis] Menchov, [Carlos] Sastre and my teammate Leipheimer are ahead. The collarbone fracture slowed me down."
Armstrong arrived in Rome Monday morning. He met with Italy's Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, yesterday to promote his Livestrong Global Cancer Campaign. Today he travels the 550 kilometres from Rome to Venice for the start of the Centennial Giro d'Italia.