The Reuters global sports blog
Armstrong will struggle to make a real impact
It’s not Lance Armstrong’s first comeback, he has a natural ability to defy the odds, he is in the best possible squad.
That’s what we heard in September when the seven-times Tour de France winner said he was coming back to competitive racing.
But during the time the American has been back on the bike, that impression has dramatically changed.
A man who knew how to stay out of trouble when in the bunch has turned into one who has crashed three times since his first race in January. The last crash, at the Tour of Castilla y Leon, was the worst.
Riding in the middle of the peloton, Armstrong failed to move up the bunch when the race was approaching tricky roads. The Astana rider ended up holding his arm in a ditch, squirming with pain after breaking his collarbone.
Before the incident, an unnamed rider taking part in the race said: “We saw this guy riding like a neo-professional, looking like he was scared on the bike. When we realised it was Armstrong, we were stunned.”
Armstrong will be at the start of the Giro d’Italia on May 9 and we will have little indication about his form since he has only just returned at the low-key Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.
However, there are signs he is losing the ability to race at the highest level. Had he had more time, perhaps he would have had a chance of winning the Tour de France. Now it looks very unlikely.
PHOTO: Lance Armstrong rides in the Castilla y Leon before his fall, Mar.23 2009. REUTERS/Felix Ausin Ordon