Astana won the team classification at the Giro d’Italia but Lance Armstrong was already in Rome airport when his team mates climbed onto the podium in the shadow of the Coliseum.

Armstrong rushed to Aspen because his girlfriend Anna Hansen was about to give birth to his fourth child.

With the Roman roads still wet from the rain, Armstrong rode a cautious final time trial. He finished 53rd, 1-19 behind stage winner Ignatas Konovalovas (Cervelo) and so was 12th overall at 15-59. Team mate Levi Leipheimer was sixth overall at 5-28.

Armstrong has not talked to the media at the Giro since the protest during the Milan Show stage two weeks ago. He has often tweeted and posted video, and the Astana team issued a press release with his final thoughts on the Giro.

“I came in (to the Giro) open minded. I did not know what to expect, obviously because of the crash in Castilla y León, the time off the bike and the trip over here. In my view it has been a hard three weeks,” he said.

“In the second half of the race I showed that I was certainly getting better and I think we can take that away from here. It is promising for June and July. I may have disappointed some fans and people in the pressroom, expecting that I immediately should start winning big races. That is crazy. I am almost 38 years old. Both of my feet are firmly on the ground. It’s taking a lot of work up to this point but we might ride strong and be in the front in July.”

“The style of racing in Italy is different, but I liked it,” continued Lance Armstrong.

“Despite some dangerous stages, it was a great race. The Giro del Centenario brought us to the most beautiful places of the country. The people here are enthusiastic. In the Giro I spent more time with the fans than with the media. It was cool and fun hanging around with the tifosi.”

LEPHEIMER SATISFIED

Armstrong’s Astsna team-mate Levi Leipheimer posed for photographs in front of the coliseum, satisfied with his Giro.

“I am not disappointed. Over the three weeks, there were five guys a bit stronger than me,” he said.

“Basically I decided to do the Giro more out of preparation for the Tour de France. I raced here against riders that were really targeting this race. What makes me happy is that I finished the Giro a lot stronger than last year and that we rode as a real team.”

“Lance Armstrong proved to be a good domestique, but also Steve Morabito, Andrey Zeits, Jani Brajkovic, Chris Horner, Dani Navarro, Yaroslav Popovych and Chehu Rubiera gave me a ton of support. Of course I would have preferred to win a stage. In the historic time trial of Cinque Terre I was very close to it, but already there Denis Menchov was better. Today, I preferred not to take any risks.”

The Giro ended with the future of the Astana team still in doubt. Some wages have been paid but other debts remain. However Team manager Johan Bruyneel is confident the team, in some form or other, will ride the Tour de France and next week’s Dauphine Libere and the Tour de Suisse.

“Up to the Giro, Levi was undefeated this year. He has to be pleased with this race and the season he has had so far. A three-week Tour is very exhausting, especially on the mind,” Bruyneel said in the statement.

“I am hopeful and confident that we can ride those races. The financial woes that left salaries unpaid are not completely resolved yet. I hope that the team sponsors will meet the deadline for the bank guarantee and the payments. Moreover the UCI now wants more guarantees about the team for the rest of the year.”

“The UCI will decide soon about the near future of the Team. We hope to know more in the coming days. The best solution is that we can continue with our current structure. I expect that we will have a team at the start of the Tour de France.”


Giro d’Italia 2009 links

Stage reports

Stage 21: Menchov wins 2009 Giro; Wiggins second in TT

Stage 20: Gilbert springs late attack to win penultimate stage

Stage 19: Sastre takes second Giro mountain stage; Menchov safe in pink

Stage 18: Second Giro stage win for Scarponi

Stage 17: Pellizotti wins on Blockhaus, Menchov remains in pink

Giro rest day review (May 26)

Stage 16: Sastre wins stage to Monte Petrano

Stage 15: Bertagnolli gifted stage win by Cervelo mix-up

Stage 14: Gerrans solos to win

Stage 13: Cavendish takes his third Giro win and prepares to head home

Stage 12: Menchov storms to Giro TT win and race lead

Stage 11: Cavendish romps to second Giro stage win

Stage 10: Di Luca lays down the gauntlet

Giro rest day review (May 18)

Stage nine: Cavendish blitzes rivals to win in Milan

Stage eight: Siutsou makes it two in a row for Columbia-Highroad

Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage

Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break

Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey

Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey

Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash

Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win

Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin

Photo galleries

Stage 20 photo gallery

Stage 19 photo gallery

Stage 18 photo gallery

Stage 17 photo gallery

Stage 16 photo gallery

Stage 15 photo gallery

Stage 14 photo gallery

Stage 13 photo gallery

Stage 12 photo gallery

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Desktop wallpaper photos

News

Wiggins: Next stop, Tour de France prologue

Swift in final big break of 2009 Giro

Menchov refuses to celebrate Giro success before final time trial

Di Luca accepts Giro defeat

Di Luca still hoping to snatch Giro lead from Menchov

Wiggins getting ready for final Giro TT

Menchov brushes off boos and doping questions after the Blockhaus

Di Luca promises to fight to the end of the Giro

Garmin at the Giro: And then there were five

Stannard sees Rome after birthday pain

Di Luca out to topple Menchov on the Blockhaus

Bruyneel tips Menchov to win Giro

Giro Britannia: A long, hot slog in Italy

Leipheimer: Lance had to wait for me today (Stage 16)

Millar climbs off and heads home from Giro

Basso discovers he has few friends at the Giro (stage 15)

Froome agonisingly close to stage victory (stage 14)

Cavendish quits the Giro d’Italia

Cheeky Cipo sneaks a ride in the Giro

Cavendish: His most important Giro win yet (stage 13)

Comment: Lance vs the press, some things never change

Menchov’s first pink jersey (Stage 12)

Wiggins: ‘I went too hard at the start’ (Stage 12 TT)

Lance and Levi: Ready for Giro time trial

Cavendish: ‘Today brought back memories of San Remo’ (stage 11)

Is Di Luca trying too hard, too soon?

Wiggins loses time in the Giro (stage 10)

Armstrong and Basso say sorry for Giro protest

How are the Giro favourites doing?

Cavendish says ‘I’m addicted to winning’

Riders stage go-slow protest during Giro stage in Milan

Cavendish cool before Milan sprint

No sympathy for Armstrong from Giro boss

Boasson Hagen celebrates his birthday early

Cavendish overjoyed for Boasson Hagen

Armstrong ‘livid’ at dangerous Giro stage

Astana riders wear faded kit in protest over unpaid wages

Armstrong sees Leipheimer in pink

Giro news round-up: 14 May

Wiggins: ‘I can’t keep smashing away on the climbs’

Wiggins eyes top 20 finish overall

Armstrong after Giro stage 5: ‘That was hard’

Cavendish looking for Giro revenge

Armstrong happy with stage four performance

Lovkvist will fight to keep Giro lead

Giro could be last race for Armstrong’s team

Vande Velde crashes out of Giro

Petacchi claims he didn’t know of Cavendish crash

Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey

Petacchi: I’ve been working out how to beat Cav

I’m wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish

Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial

Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up

Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial

Team time trial start times

Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia top ten prediction

Brits in Venice for Giro presentation

Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation

Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana

Armstrong working to save Astana team

Wiggins in top form for Giro

Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener

Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up

Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled

Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride

Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia

Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie

David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro

Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints

2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice

Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride

Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro

Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route

Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey

2009 Giro d’Italia guide and features

Find the pink jersey competition

Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview

British riders to have led the grand tours

CW’s Giro top ten prediction

Brits in the Giro 2009

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia


2008 Giro d’Italia archive

Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results

From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia

Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race

Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special

Five days to go, what’s in store?

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)

Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)

Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

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