UCI president Hein Verbruggen says that Lance Armstrong would have ridden the Giro this year if it wPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM International Cycling Union president Hein Verbruggen has told Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport that Lance Armstrong would have ridden the Giro d'Italia this year if it had not been for the legal implications of his spat with Filippo Simeoni at last year's Tour de France and the suit for defamation brought against Armstrong by the same rider. "Without the Simeoni case his participation in the 2005 Giro d'Italia would have been 100% certain, he promised me," said Verbruggen. "I don't think what Armstrong did at the Tour last year would have won him any prizes. But he hasn't given an awful lot to cycling and taken back very little. It's true that he gives everything to the Tour, but you need to understand: he's American, he earns an awful lot, so why should be change? But just you wait and see: he will come to the Giro." Clearly that debut Giro appearance for Armstrong won't take place this year, but Verbruggen's words suggest that it might take place in 2006. As for that defamation suit - which stems from comments made by the Texan about Simeoni's testimony in the trial of Armstrong's former training consultant Michele Ferrari - Simeoni told procycling recently that a verdict is due to be reached in the near future. Armstrong's record-breaking sixth Tour win has earned him a nomination as the Laureus male sports personality of the year prize. Armstrong faces strong competition for the award, which will be announced in a ceremony in Estoril, Portugal, on May 16. World tennis number one Roger Federer is also nominated, as are Olympic 800m and 1500m champion Hicham El-Guerrouj, sextuple Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, and 500CC motorbike champion Valentino Rossi. Cycling also gets a look-in for the women's prize in the shape of Olympic time trial champion Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel. The Dutchwoman is up against British 800m and 1500m champion Kelly Holmes, Swedish heptathlete Carolina Kluft, Russian pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova, and golfer Annika Sorenstam.