Friday, December 11, 2009

Lance won't be top TRS rider...

The seven-time Tour de France winner, who this year returned to cycling after four years out, believes he is too old to take on the leader's duties.

Instead, Armstrong highlighted the potential of Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer as future team leaders.

"I'm 38 now, I'll be 39 this season - it would be irresponsible to build it around me," he said.

"Going into the Tour we have to look at Levi and Kloden, the tactics, the ideas that we use."

Armstrong rode for Astana and finished third in the 2009 Tour, his first since retiring following his unprecedented seventh straight win in 2005.

His comeback also made headlines following a public dispute with team-mate and eventual Tour champion Alberto Contador, culminating in the Texan announcing his departure from the Kazakh-backed team to create his own outfit, backed by American retailer RadioShack.

Eight Astana riders followed Armstrong to the new team, including German Kloden, runner-up in the 2004 and 2006 Tours, and American Leipheimer, who finished third in 2007.

Only Spaniard Contador remains on Astana's roster from the 2009 Tour and Armstrong believes the American team boast the strongest line-up in road cycling.

"If you look at the Tour this year, we (Astana) had the strongest team in the race," added Armstrong, whose team will make their debut in January's Tour Down Under in Australia.

"Of the nine riders from last year's Tour de France squad from Astana, eight are now on RadioShack. We took the vast majority of the riders from the team that we wanted, so it remains a strong team.

"We lack that super high level favourite like Alberto, but I like the chances with the strong guys we have."

However, RadioShack have yet to receive a formal invite for the 2009 Tour or Giro d'Italia.

BBC Sport
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