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Armstrong targets Giro with surgery set for today

SEVEN-TIMES Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong still hopes to ride in May's Giro d'Italia, even though his broken collarbone is more serious than initially suspected.

The 37-year-old cancer survivor fractured his right collarbone during the first stage of Spain's Vuelta Castilla y Leon on Monday and will have surgery on the injury in Austin, Texas today.

"The Giro is obviously on people's minds when you start to consider that that's about five weeks away," Armstrong said in a teleconference call on Tuesday. "In my opinion, I think that the Giro is still very do-able.

"Even if I went into the Giro under-prepared and was riding it as preparation for other events, I would still be excited to go and do that."

Armstrong said medical tests in Austin yesterday had revealed "multiple pieces" of broken bone in his collarbone.

"Film shows the clavicle in quite a few more pieces than we originally thought," he added. "Either way, we were still going to plate it and do that at 7.00 a.m. tomorrow morning."

He has been advised by his surgeon to rest for 72 hours after Wednesday's operation and that three or four days after that he would probably be given the all-clear to ride an indoor training bike.

"If the surgery goes well and the plate fits nicely and everything comes together, I don't think it complicates anything for the future any more than the initial opinion did," Armstrong said.


The veteran American rider came out of retirement this year and is due to make his first appearance in the Giro, starting on May 9 in Venice, before riding the Tour de France in July.

However, he then experienced the "biggest setback" of his career after the multiple crash on Monday with around 20-km remaining of the 168.3-km leg between Paredes de Nava and Baltanas.

"It was a shock and although I've raced for quite a long time I've never had anything like that," Armstrong said. "To go as long as I've gone without having something like this happen is basically a miracle.

"It's not good timing but it could certainly be worse. And I look it from a different perspective too just from the curve balls that my life and my health have thrown me in the past.

"Laying in that ditch with a shattered collar bone was a lot better than other health scares I've had."

Armstrong said the high level of off-season work he had put would help his recovery.

"I felt like my condition was really coming to a place where I was going to be able to ride at the front of the races," he added.

"But the good news is that if you get injured with good form, it's a lot easier to come back with decent form and not start from rock bottom."


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