By Gregor Brown
The 2009 Giro d'Italia will have a heightened awareness of the fight against cancer thanks to the presence of American Lance Armstrong. Race organiser RCS Sport is working on plans to highlight the battle during the race which will cover the majority of Italy when it runs May 9 to 31.
Lance Armstrong's participation "brings more attention to the race. There are a lot of initiatives in favour of his fight against cancer. It has not been determined if this will be advertisement at the start and end of the stages; we are still working on it," said race director Angelo Zomegnan to Cyclingnews.
RCS Sport announced Armstrong's decision to race in the 2009 event in October. The idea came about via e-mails between Zomegnan and Armstrong, and the rider's desire to fight cancer worldwide as part of his comeback.
Zomegnan explained the inclusion of Armstrong and the growing list of top-name contenders adds greater substance to an already important race. Current Tour champion Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego and Danilo Di Luca are due to take part in the centenarian Giro. Australian Cadel Evans, second at the Tour, is said to be considering participation.
RCS Sport will announce the full 2009 parcours on December 13 in Venice. The city will host the start of the race with a team time trial and Rome is the likely finishing point of the tour.