Tour Down Under 2011: RadioShack's Lance Armstrong back for first UCI World Tour race
Lance Armstrong has sprung something of a suprise by announcing that he will compete in one more UCI World Tour race before the finally retires - the Tour Down Under in Adelaide in January 2011, the event which officially opens the new season.
Prior to his announcement on Sunday it wasunderstood that Armstrong's appearance at the Tour de France in July was his competitive swansong in the peloton although there were to be a couple of promotional appearances in races in the US.
Armstrong is one of several people named in doping claims by Floyd Landis that are the subject of US federal investigators, although he hasn't yet been called to give evidence.
“I’m excited to be competing in my last professional ride outside the US at the Santos Tour Down Under,” said Armstrong. “It will be my third time to the event, and I’m sure I will enjoy it as much as I have the first two times.
“I will never forget the reception we received in Adelaide when we kicked off the LiveStrong global campaign,” he added. “I look forward to racing and also checking in on the progress in South Australia.”
The Tour Down Under, which is predominatly a sprinter's race so there will be little chance for Armstrong to challenge for the podium but he chose to use the race for his return to professional cycling in 2009, four years after his retirement from the sport after winning the 2005 Tour de France.
South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced Armstrong’s return to Tour Down Under at a Bicycle SA ride with Stuart O’Grady. The UCI World Tour race will be held from January 16-23, 2011.
“This is an amazing opportunity for cycling fans across the globe to head to Adelaide and be part of history as Lance competes in his farewell ride as a professional on international soil,” Rann said. “Lance is a true hero of the sport and we are delighted he has chosen to compete again in South Australia and make his international farewell here.”