Details continue to emerge in the extraordinary story of Lance Armstrong asking for donations from fans as he rides the Giro. A frenzy of last-minute preperations has brought additional clarity to Armstrong’s fund-raising efforts:
As previously reported, he will ride each stage with a handbar-mounted bag to hold all donations from road side fans. Apparently, a musette-style shoulder bag was deemed too dangerous.
A goal of $100,0000 per day, per stage has been set. Obviously, mountain stages present greater opportunitues to slow down and collect. On time trial stages, the Astana rider on course before Lance will identity “deep pocket” donors and radio back that information.
A special Astana radio frequency will allow Johan Bruynell to constantly monitor find-raising efforts and offer encouragement. Bruynell said Lance has already scouted the major climbs so he knows exactly where the most lucrative opportunities are.
On rest days there will be several financial options. For 5000 lira, fans can massage Lance’s legs. For 10,000, they can get a UCI certified blood sample. For another 5000 Lance will throw in a hair sample. And Lance will also autograph his new book “It’s not about the bike. Every lira counts.”
Contrary to previous statements, credit cards will be accepted. All Astana riders except protected rider Levi Leipheimer will carry the neccessary equipement to process Visa and Mastercard.
Given the slow pace of continually stopping to accept donations, Giro officials will extend the time cut for each stage so Lance avoids disqualification. Several teams, including Liquigas and Saxo Bank, have promised not to attack when Lance is busy stuffing his bag with lira.
Astana officials will be at the all feed zones to transfer Lance’s donations to the nearest bank.
Giro director Angelo Zomegnan offered praise of Armstrong’s effort, “He is a great champion. Lance has given everything to cycling, now it’s time for cycling to give back.” However, some critics like Grag Lemond were openly dismissive. “I could have raised 3 million. I bet he’s using fake lira. This is all a scam,’ said Lemond.
News of Armstrong’s collection effort has galvanized the Italian fans with thousands of tifosi already camped out along the major climbs after hitting the local ATMs. As Garmin team director Jonathan Vaughers said “Lance is so money.”