By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia
Lance Armstrong (Astana) attacked the peloton on stage 2 of Tour Down Under, showing his talk of taking any opportunity on offer was more than just words. The 37-year-old rider teamed up with Australian youngster Jack Bobridge (UniSA) to shoot away from the peloton on the second lap. The pair pulled out a 10-second margin, before being shut down by the bunch.
Armstrong admitted he and Astana team director Johan Bruyneel hadn't planned on the attack. In fact Armstrong said it wasn't the smartest strategic move on his part.
"No, and Johan doesn't know this yet, but my radio was unplugged at that moment," he smiled. "We had this debate this morning because he wanted to tape the cable into the radio and I said 'no, no, no, no, you don't need to tape it'. Since he's sitting here I'll go ahead and tell him that it kept coming unplugged. I should have learnt over the last 10 years but I didn't hear anything at that point.
"I was following Michael Rogers and a few other guys," explained Armstrong. "It was probably not the smartest thing we could have done tactically. Nonetheless it was fun to be out the front of a race again. What do they say here? 'Give it a twist'? … oh, 'give it a crack'."
Bruyneel is already impressed with Armstrong's fitness. The Belgian knew his American rider was in good shape, but wanted to wait for the race to begin to see how good he was compared to the other riders.
"It's good," said Bruyneel. "I mean, we didn't speak about the race yet, but I heard on the radio he was following some attacks. Obviously we're going to see more on day number five. But I think he's in the top of the bunch. There's definitely a few guys who prepared for this race specifically to win it, but it's very good.
"It's better than I expected," he added. "I mean, I knew he was in good physical shape, but you still have to wait and see how you are compared to the competition and it gives me a good feeling."