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Armstrong joins Astana (gets ToB invite) … over to you Alberto

Armstrong joins Astana (gets ToB invite)

According to Kazakhstan's cycling federation deputy president Nikolai Proskurin, Astana have won the race to sign Lance Armstrong. The move was widely expected in cycling circles because of Armstrong's close ties to Astana team boss Johan Bruyneel who managed him to seven Tour de France victories. There could be some fireworks in Spain though Armstrong's first race will be the Tour Down Under in January – which he will ride as part of his build up to winning an eigth Tour de France in July all of which is part of his greater goal of raising cancer awareness. Of Armstrong's return, Bruyneel has said that it is unthinkable that he could ride for another team and that he would find it impossiblle to leave him out of his team – a factor which clearly unsettled Contador. Speaking to the BBC Mr Proskurin acknowledged that accommodating both men in the same team was going to be difficult – perhaps not surprisingly though Astana are going to try. Mr Proskurin aid that Armstrong would share the leadership in the team with the current leader, Spaniard Alberto Contador, the 2007 Tour de France winner who has won the Tour of Spain and Giro d'Italia this season. "Currently there's certain tension in the team but I hope we are capable of keeping the situation under control," Proskurin said. "Armstrong will not be the only star, he will be one of the team's leaders." In other Armstrong-related news, Tour of Britain organisers today officially invited Lance and the Astana team to take part in the 2009 event. This year's race drew record crowds and the organisers are confident that next year's race will top that – particularly as the final stage will be run on the central London street circuit that proved so popular in 2008. Armstrong's presence would add even more to the crowds. It would certainly help with his bid to publicise the fight against cancer, partiuclarly if he rode as winner of the 2009 Tour de France.

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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