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Armstrong's new groove

Lance Armstrong made a break royale

Lance Armstrong made a break royale (Image credit: Mark Gunter)

By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia

Lance Armstrong (Astana) joined 13 riders in a 90-kilometre long break away throughout the Tour Down Under's Stage three today, as the American gets back into the swing of racing. Armstrong joined a powerful break away early in the race – which included Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank) and Michael Rogers (Columbia) – and stayed away through to kilometre 101.

"I felt okay; high end intensity, I don't have that yet, I haven't worked that part of my training," he said. "Like I said you had to be strong to be in that group, if you looked around there was some horsepower in there, I've got to be happy with that."

The seven-time Tour de France winner believes the racing will help his comeback. The rider believes the only way to get competitive again after three and a half years off the bike is by racing.

"I think it's the kind of stuff I need to do, I need to get in the race and work that top end," he said. "Like I've said 100 times here, I can't get that in training so the more I can be out there... I mean, I looked down at my power metre and the average after two hours was 340 watts, you can't do that in training. You're just constantly going and going and going."

Armstrong asked race director Mike Turtur during the race to have a helicopter flying overhead pushed back. The American thought the helicopter's proximity further complicated issues for the lead group, which was already battling windy conditions.

"It was windy. There were periods where kilometres up the road you could just see dust blowing sideways," he said. "When it's that windy the last thing you need is a big wind machine on top of you, because it was swirling so much and it's not safe. And also it's a little nauseating listening to that thing all day long. No offence to helicopters but it's just a little off course."

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