The sight of Lance Armstrong struggling to hang on to his big-name
rivals at the end of the Giro's first testing day was a most unusual
sight for cycling aficionados who have closely followed the career of
the seven time winner of the Tour de France.
critics may argue Lance will never again enjoy the glory days when he
"killed off" all-comers at the end of any mountain stage, I say give
the guy a break as he makes a fighting return to the big-time.
six weeks have passed since he snapped his much publicised collarbone
in Spain, and while the recovery has been swift, the form,
understandably, may not be quite there yet.
But for a man to
keep in tempo with the front-runners for all but the final few hundred
meters of the stage 4 mountain-top finish at San Martinodi Castrozza suggests Lance is just a little off the pace.
He's hardly likely to panic from the performance.
Take a look at the GC, Lance is one of three Astana riders in the top six ready to pounce on Tomas Lovqvist's leader's jersey.
anything I'm sure he will emerge from today's racing oozing with
confidence and be satisfied within of a job "well done" given his
recent personal injury.
It'll be interesting to see what cards Astana play from their current situation as Levi Leiphemier and Yaroslav Popoyvich make up a reliable tag-team.
Lance's focus at the start of the year was to try and win a race he's never appeared in as it celebrates its centenary year.
He has publicly
spoken about the Giro as a race he'd always wanted to tackle, not to
mention the admiration he has for the people of a country who served
him during his early years on the pro-circuit.
Lance might now be better advised to use cycling's first Grand Tour of
the year as a training run with the view of making a hardened assault
at his old stomping ground - the Tour de France.
would love to claim he's passed his use-by date, it's been often said
you can never write-off Armstrong as a serious contender.
is a character, a personality and a media magnet the sport desperately
needs at a time when the headlines are filled with doom and gloom.
Above all he is the best modern-day cyclist the world has ever seen.