Sports News

Armstrong underprepared for Giro, plans own team

MILAN (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong feels underprepared for this month’s Giro d’Italia and is already thinking about his future as a team owner, the seven-times Tour de France winner said.

Lance Armstrong of the U.S. rides during the first stage of the Vuelta de Castilla y Leon cycling race between Paredes de Nava and Baltanas March 23, 2009. REUTERS/Felix Ordonez

The 37-year-old broke his collarbone in a race in Spain in March and has just completed the Tour of Gila in New Mexico to boost his fitness ahead of the Giro starting in Venice on Saturday.

“I would like to be a protagonist. If I only had three weeks more (preparation), it would have been different,” he told Monday’s Gazzetta dello Sport, whose parent company runs the Giro.

“After the accident I asked myself, ‘dear Lance, what are you doing still on a bike?’. Then I got back on the bike. I needed to recover mentally above all.”

Armstrong, who returned to cycling in January to promote his cancer charity after over three years in retirement, picked 2006 Giro winner Ivan Basso as the favorite this time.

He is still targeting an eighth Tour title in July, even though he acknowledged it will be more difficult than ever and has not yet decided if he will continue racing next year.

“It depends on how things go in the next three months,” he added.

One objective for the Astana rider is to become a team owner.

“I would like to have a team all of my own. To be the owner, the sporting director and a cyclist,” he said.

“You will know more in July even if during the economic crisis and doping revelations it is difficult to convince sponsors to give you money.”

Reporting by Mark Meadows; Editing by Nick Mulvenney;