Injury won't derail Armstrong's Tour plans

By Les Clarke Despite facing the possibility of a longer injury layoff than initially anticipated ,...

By Les Clarke

Despite facing the possibility of a longer injury layoff than initially anticipated, Lance Armstrong is still looking forward to riding the Tour de France in July.

Asked if the injuries sustained in an accident during stage one of the Vuelta a Castilla y León would derail preparations for the Tour, Armstrong replied, "This is definitely a setback and it's the biggest setback I've ever had in my cycling career.

"It's a new experience for me but fortunately I've done a lot of off-season work that will help me, and I felt like my condition was really coming to a place where I was going to be able to ride at the front of the races."

It was good news and bad news at the same time for Armstrong. "The bad news is that I wasn't able to show it in the race, but the good news is that if you're injured you can come back in good form, so you're not starting from rock bottom."

The American, who has admitted he's been extremely busy since announcing his comeback last year, could be forgiven for approaching this latest development with a sense of pessimism. When questioned by journalists at a press call whether he felt his return to competition may have been 'cursed', he remained philosophical.

"Lying in the ditch in that situation yesterday... yeah. But I think that's normal. You're laying there and you're asking yourself, 'What the hell am I doing here?' I think that's perhaps a normal reaction," said Armstrong.

Armstrong didn't feel the same way a day later, even though he was still in a lot of pain. "I am ready to get this thing behind me. It was a shock, and again, I've raced bikes for a long time and I've never had anything like that.

"To go as long as I have without this happening... it's a miracle," he continued. "While you're sitting there in a hell of a lot of pain, you think, 'It was bound to happen at some point'. It's not good timing, but it sure could be a lot worse."

Armstrong looked at the incident from a different perspective, given the curve balls his life and health have thrown at him in the past. "Laying in that ditch with a shattered collarbone is a lot better than other health scares I've had," the cancer-survivor said.

In a comment that's bound to keep cycling fans in Italy pleased, Armstrong said, "Even if I went into the Giro [d'Italia] underprepared and using it as preparation for other events, I'd still do it and be excited about doing it."

Weigh in with your own share of bad luck in our Injury discussion.

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