Lance Armstrong continues to write off Giro chances

By AFP | Friday, May 8, 2009 11.56am

Lance Armstrong insisted again on Thursday that there will be no miracle Tour of Italy victory, preferring to concentrate on helping his Astana team out of their worrying financial crisis.

The seven-time Tour de France winner makes his comeback this weekend after suffering a broken collarbone in a crash during the Vuelta Castilla y Leon race in Spain on March 25.

The 37-year-old is keen to play down his chances on the Giro which lasts a gruelling three weeks.

"I haven't come to win," said the American. "We have a team at a high level and the idea is to protect Levi Leipheimer (the team leader in the absence of reigning champion Alberto Contador), to play the team card and make progress towards the Tour de France.

"I'll be satisfied when I have finished the race. I have recuperated physically after my fall, but I'm not at the top of my form compared to the other guys."

Meanwhile, Armstrong believes that his Astana team will survive despite the financial worries of the Kazakh outfit who have reportedly struggled to pay riders' salaries.

"The team is very optimistic," said Armstrong, who draws a nominal salary. "There is a good spirit in the team."

Team manager Johan Bruyneel said he was confident a solution can be found.

"We want to find a solution between now and the end of the Giro," said the Belgian. "We hope our sponsors can resolve the problem. If not, we will find another answer."

© AFP 2009

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