Great news, Lance Armstrong’s decision to comeback and return to competitive racing culminating in competing in the Tour de France again will begin right here in Australia:
Lance Armstrong has confirmed that he will return to professional cycling next year and seek an eighth Tour de France win with the Kazakhstan-based Astana team.
Armstrong, who will use the return to sport to promote a global cancer awareness campaign, will join Johan Bruyneel at Astana.
Bruyneel was Armstrong’s sporting director at former teams US Postal and Discovery, with whom the Texan won all seven of his Tour de France titles.
“I have decided to race my bicycle again,” said Armstrong, 37, a survivor of testicular cancer, as he launched the Live Strong Global Awareness Campaign in New York.
“With this campaign we feel that by racing the bicycle all over the world, beginning in Australia, ending in France at the global summit, it is the best way to promote this initiative, it’s the best way to get the word out.
“I will race in 2009 with Astana, reuniting myself with Johan Bruyneel.
“While we looked at other teams and we talked with other teams, as a friend and as a partner and as someone I can really trust on every little decision I could not imagine racing against him or without him.
“So Johan and I will be together in 2009 and my first race will be in Australia, the Tour Down Under.
“The only other races I can say I’m doing for sure are the Tour de France and the Leadville 100.”
Earlier, the organisers of the Tour Down Under – a stage race based in Adelaide and South Australia – were given the go ahead to confirm Armstrong’s participation, a huge boost for the race.
The move was announced by state Premier Mike Rann, who said Armstrong’s participation would make the tour “the biggest sporting event in South Australian history”.
“What Lance wants to do is to use his comeback to really globalise his campaign to raise awareness and also raise funding for research into cancer prevention and cancer treatment,” said Rann. “We will be very willing partners in that.”
Armstrong will also use the race in January to prepare himself for his quest to win the Tour de France title. [Telegraph]
This is a great opportunity for everyone in Adelaide to see a cycling legend in action. I cannot imagine that Armstrong will be anywhere near as strong as he was when he gave up cycling four years ago considering his age now, but it still will be an interesting spectacle to see his comeback which fortunately will begin right here in Australia.