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The American seven-time Tour De France winner, however, refused to rule out a large surge to get among the leaders as the race progresses.
Armstrong finished in the peloton and conceded afterwards he was still a little rusty following his long lay-off.
“It’s disappointing but still it’s January not July so I have to keep reminding myself,” he said.
“It’s all about setting and resetting expectations, it’s been three-and-half years, it’s a long time.
“This is still the first race back after a long time and I’d be kidding myself if I expected to show up and pound people.”
The race concludes on Sunday on the streets of Adelaide with the Texan insisting he will be there or thereabouts come the finish.
He said: “I think I can be there, I know I won’t be riding away (from the field).”
It is expected Armstrong’s best chance of winning a stage will come tomorrow when the competitors ride from Snapper Point to Willunga.
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