Armstrong to sign up for Tour Down Under
AAP - September 18, 2008, 9:57 am
Lance Armstrong has indicated the Tour Down Under in Adelaide might be his first comeback event. AP ©
Seven times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has reportedly told Tour Down Under officials he wants to contest the ProTour cycling race in Adelaide in January, barring unforeseen schedule complications.
Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur said Armstrong was expected to reveal his proposed program as soon as next week, following last week's announcement he would be returning to the sport in a bid to win an unprecedented eighth Tour crown in 2009.
"We understand he will make an announcement next week about his proposed program and what team he might be riding for," Turtur told News Ltd.
"We are obviously hanging out for that.
"Lance Armstrong is a superstar in the same category as Tiger Woods.
"He is the best-known cyclist in the history of the sport and with that comes obvious benefits, media, interest all over the world, recognition of the race."
Armstrong, who turns 37 on Thursday, has already indicated that Adelaide might be his first comeback event after saying he wanted to compete in several countries to bring his cancer-fighting message to the world.
Armstrong nearly died from cancer in 1996 and his main motivation for returning to competition is to highlight awareness of the disease.
"The most important issue is taking the global epidemic of cancer really to a much bigger stage," he told cyclingnews.com.au this week.
"The best way to do that is to race the bike all over the world. So you race in Australia, South Africa, South America, Europe, America ... that is the first priority.
"What's important is that we take the Livestrong message to all the other countries in Europe, all the other continents around the world, that's the most important thing."
Adelaide's Tour Down Under was granted ProTour status this year, making it the first major race on the international cycling calendar.
Next year's event will be staged from January 20-25.
DAMN wouldn't that be awesome! I've already booked to go over for this, am riding in the participation stage, but to see Lance on a hill stage... stupidly awesome.