Lance Armstrong will likely make the Giro d'Italia his only three-week race next season. His main goal is to raise global awareness for cancer and the Texan has a feeling that the Tour's attention may be too distracting from that.
While Armstrong decided only last week to ride the Giro d'Italia, it was something that was in his head for a long time. In an interview to Gazzetta dello Sport he explained why he never raced the Giro before. "I like my routine, I won my first Tour without going to Italy and I didn't want to change my programme. Even in my personal life I am very methodical. Changes make me feel insecure."
But things have changed and the next Giro being the Centenary one added to his desire to race in the country where he used to live for a while. "I have many friends here. There is also the possibility to make more people aware of the fight against cancer."
Armstrong wouldn't be Armstrong if he wouldn't want to leave a mark on the Italian roads, though. "I have no experience with this race... I certainly will come here to try to win it. It is possible that the Giro will be the only three-week race I will do."
There are still some doubts about his Tour de France appearance. "Everybody knows about its importance but there are the problems with the organisers, journalists and fans. This could be detracting from my main goal, the global awareness of the fight against cancer."
Armstrong tried to make headway early on in his comeback trail. "Before I announced my comeback, I contacted the organisers, but I did not get any response. Is there a chance they wouldn't invite me? Everything is possible, but I would find that incredible."
Armstrong explained his two main motivators to return to racing. "The first is a sportive one. I believe I am still competitive. The second is social. In the bike saddle I am more efficient in the fight against cancer." But he certainly missed the old days. "When I watched the Tour in July my desire [to race] came back. The decision was definite in August, when I finished second in a mountain bike race in Colorado."
The seven-time Tour winner explained once again his desire to fully cooperate in the doping controls, which includes his own personal testing. The results will be made available on the internet. "Don Catlin is an authority and has an indisputable reputation. But I will also be tested by WADA [World Anti Doping Agency], USADA [USA anti-doping agency], UCI [international cycling union], IOC [international Olympic committee, USOC [USA Olympic committee]. I will be available to everyone, anytime."
Armstrong acknowledged that the sport is in a bit of trouble. "Sure, confidence in cycling is lost among riders, managers, organisers, journalists, sponsors and obviously fans. But we test more than in any other sport. It is therefore easier to catch people. I would like to see the same testing done in others sports."
Even if he could convince people he came back clean, Armstrong thought there will always be doubters. "There will be some who say, yeah, he is clean now, but what about the past?"