Lance Armstrong will take to the race course down under in Australia tonight for a challenging warm up as he competes in the "Race Down Under" later this week. Did Armstrong set up his 'state of the art' anti-doping system? To the Sydney Morning Herald:
However, Armstrong is wary about the style of racing he will confront in tonight's criterium, in which the field will race 30 laps of a 1.7km circuit - for a total of 51km - around Rymill Park in Adelaide.
In recent weeks he has reiterated his need to re-adapt to the speed and flow of racing in a tightly compacted bunch, such as the 133-rider pack made up of 19 seven-man teams that will feature in Adelaide.
Asked about his first pedal strokes in international racing since winning the 2005 Tour being made in a criterium rather than a road race, he said: "It wouldn't be my first choice."
Armstrong also discussed the doping program he designed:
Armstrong also confirmed the independent anti-doping program to be run on him specifically by American expert Don Catlin was now in place. Armstrong, who has been tested in and out of competition 12 times since announcing his comeback in September - and twice in Adelaide - said Catlin's program would start at the Tour Down Under
"It's formalised," Armstrong said. "It is under way. It is the most comprehensive anti-doping plan in the history of sport. I am proud of it.
"If anybody has any questions about any performance this year it can hopefully answer some of those questions, but we are under way.
Sound like there were logistic problems:
"It was slightly complicated because there are a lot of people involved and obviously a lot of other agencies involved.
"Outside Don Catlin there has been 12 other anti-doping controls out of competition.
"I would challenge anybody else to show me 12 anti-doping controls in the past few months."
He said the delay in getting the Catlin program up and running was due to "getting everybody synched up, getting everybody together".
And the strategy for the course:
"[The course] has changed a little since last year where there were a lot of turns, and times when [riders] would have been really breaking hard and accelerating out of corners," he continued. "That makes it harder when you are 50 to 60 to 70 guys back. The other ones are sprinting out of the corner when you are braking into the corner. It looks on paper to be something that you can roll around a little easier on.
"But it sort of goes full circle. I started off in the late '80s doing criteriums in theUnited States. The main thing is to stay out of trouble, stay up front and avoid the drama."