Astana arrive without Lance

2009-01-11 09:56
Lance Armstrong (AFP)

Adelaide - Lance Armstrong's Astana team arrived in Adelaide on Sunday for the Tour Down Under but the American cycling star was still training in Hawaii.

The squad flew in from Europe via Singapore in preparation for the UCI ProTour race, which starts on Jan. 18 and marks the return of seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong to professional competition four years after he retired.

Armstrong continued to train at his base in Hawaii with race officials saying they expected him to arrive in Adelaide sometime from Tuesday to Thursday. Race director Mike Turtur said he had been given details of Armstrong's travel plans but had been asked not to disclose them.

Cancer survivor Armstrong is using his return to cycling to further the fight against cancer worldwide. While in Adelaide he will appear at two major functions, including one run by the Cancer Council of South Australia.

As well as the Tour Down Under, his race schedule for 2009 will include the Giro d'Italia and an attempt to win an unprecedented eighth Tour de France.

Writing on his Internet blog recently, Armstrong said preparations for the new season were much different to what he had been involved with in the past with his training starting in the American summer of 2008.

"I've spent months and months in the gym trying to build back a certain level of strength that I think I'll need, not just strength but core stability," he said.

As well as Astana, the Spanish Euskaltel Euskadi team and the French Bouygues team arrived on Sunday while AG2R La Mondiale and Caisse D'Epargne flew in on Saturday.

The six stages of the Tour Down Under run from Jan. 20 to 25, with a criterium in Adelaide scheduled for Jan. 18.


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