Armstrong, Astana not unhappy with Giro route

Armstrong hasn't done a 61km time trial yet, but will be the top favourite

Armstrong hasn't done a 61km time trial yet, but will be the top favourite (Image credit: Mike Gladu)

Lance Armstrong and the Astana staff were not unhappy with the 2009 Giro route. The long time trial will allow Armstrong to make the best of his ability to race against the clock. But the team wasn't really fully thrilled, either.

General Manager Johan Bruyneel indicated a change in plans. "At least we can say that the revealed route is original. The two key stages will be the long individual time trial and the stage to Block Haus. We are used to big stage races with decisive mountain stages in the last week. We will have to change our usual strategy."

The strategy change was one challenge for Bruyneel. "The biggest challenge will be to bring back Lance Armstrong to his level of three years ago. I am confident about this and we are highly motivated as well by the presence of a lot big names at the start of this Centenario."

Armstrong himself feared another factor besides the route. "The weather may be bad, which will play an important factor in the race." He also thought that the time trial was going to be one of the key parts to overall victory. "The second week is highlighted by the long time trial of 62 kilometers. As a professional I've never done such a long time trial. So, this will be a crucial day in the Giro."

Armstrong also cautioned that the final week was tricky, despite the lack of major mountain stages. " The stage to the Vesuvio will be a real test for all of us, but there is also that short mountain stage. You never know what will happen there. Some people are better in long stages, others are better in short stages."

Armstrong will enjoy the final day, which is in Rome for a change. "Finally, there is the finish in magical Rome. Rome is a city that I never experienced until last year, when I visited the city as a tourist. I fell immediately in love with Rome."

Team Director Alain Gallopin also felt the mountains should have been later, but felt the race was well balanced. "The long time trial and the team time trial suit us. I [would have] preferred not to have the Alps in the first week. The Italian riders probably like it more. They are always good in the first week of the Giro, but I am confident that our leader will be good as well."

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