But about 85 kilometers into the 136-kilometer stage, Armstrong used some of his considerable star power to back off a low-flying helicopter with a camera crew that was swirling up dust and wind.
After the day's stage Armstrong, according to Australia's TheAge newspaper came up with this one line zinger:
"It's a little nauseating listening to that thing all day long. No offense to helicopters … but with the deep-dish rims now, big dust, some of these little guys (in the peloton) … the next stop is New Zealand for them."
Armstrong is now in 38th place overall, and is within 39 seconds of the race lead.
"It has been harder than I expected. All of it, the break (retirement), the first race back, the heat, the hills, the wind, the fact it is a stage race. And it has been aggressive," Armstrong added.
On his Twitter page Armstrong predicts that today's stage will be the hardest, "Another windy, nervous day in the bunch. The boys (me included!) were a little tired from yesterday. Tomorrow's the hard day"