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Giro holding out hope for Lance

3/24/2009

MILAN -- Organizers for the Giro d'Italia are still holding out slim hopes that Lance Armstrong will enter the race after the seven-time Tour de France winner broke his collarbone.

"We're used to watching Armstrong pull off miracles, so we're still hoping he can do one more," Giro director Angelo Zomegnan told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Armstrong was flying to the United States for surgery after crashing Monday in Spain during the Vuelta of Castilla and Leon race.

"I think for the Giro it's a very big problem," Armstrong said as he left Valladolid University Hospital on Monday, adding that he would have surgery in a couple days.

"We're going to wait until the operation and see what his physical situation is. Sure we're worried," said Zomegnan, adding that he has been in contact with Armstrong's advisers after the crash.

Armstrong returned from three and a half years of retirement at the start of this season and was planning on racing the Giro for the first time.

This year's race is scheduled for May 9-31.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Giro, organizers have prepared a special route for this year's race passing through nearly all of Italy's major cities. It will start in Venice and conclude in Rome.

Earlier this month, Armstrong inspected a key individual time trial for the Giro -- a 38.34-mile race against the clock in the coastline area known as Cinque Terre, scheduled for stage 12 on May 21.

It is also unclear if Armstrong will be able to ride in the Tour de France, which is held July 4-26.