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Armstrong to support US mate at Giro race

LANCE Armstrong committed himself on Tuesday to riding in support of teammate Levi Leipheimer in the Giro d'Italia, saying he is not ready to contend for the title.

The seven-time Tour de France winner, who broke his collarbone in a crash in March, said he hopes to win at least one stage of the Giro but the overall title is out of reach.

"While at the beginning of the year my objective was to contend, with the crash I'm not sure I still can," Armstrong said at a meeting with Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, in Rome to support his campaign against cancer.

"Before that I was ahead of schedule. Now we're behind schedule. I have to go into the Giro knowing I'm not a contender for the overall. But we have a rider who is going for the overall, and I'll ride for him."

Armstrong already helped Astana teammate Leipheimer win the Tour of Gila in New Mexico last week, and the Tour of California at the beginning of the season.

Still, Armstrong was coy when asked what will happen if Astana is in position to win the team time trial in Venice that opens the Giro on Saturday. The first rider that crosses the line for the winning team will take the leader's pink jersey.

"I don't know. Johan decides that," Armstrong said, referring to Johan Bruyneel, Astana's team director, who also guided the American in his Tour de France victories.


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