Armstrong returns for Australian tour

ADELAIDE, Australia (AFP) – Lance Armstrong's new cycling squad, Team RadioShack, will make its debut at the 2010 Tour Down Under around Adelaide from January 17-24, race organisers said here on Thursday.

Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France champion who returned from retirement this year for Astana in a supporting role at the famed race, will be the star rider of the new Team RadioShack that will debut in Australia.

The Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann, on Thursday confirmed that Armstrong, who turns 38 next month, and his new team will compete in the Tour Down Under following a meeting with the American in Dublin.

"I?m delighted to announce that Lance Armstrong will be back in Adelaide to race in next year?s Tour Down Under," Rann said in a statement.

"This will be the first time Lance?s new team will compete anywhere in the world.

"I?ve been in regular contact with Lance and his management since he made his world cycling comeback in Adelaide at the 2009 Tour Down Under.

"He really enjoyed his time here and has told me how much he appreciated the massive support he received from the thousands of cycling fans during the race and from the communities supporting the launch of his global cancer campaign."

Armstrong finished third overall at the Tour de France last month while racing for Astana on what was his first participation in the race since securing his seventh yellow jersey in 2005, after which he retired.

It was during the Tour de France that cancer-survivor Armstrong confirmed he would ride for new outfit, Team RadioShack, next year as he bids to win an eighth yellow jersey.

Belgian newspapers this week reported that Belgians Sebastien Rosseler and Gert Steegmans were set to join Armstrong's new team.

Armstrong has also announced that Johan Bruyneel, who oversaw his seven Tour de France wins, will join his new team next year.

Armstrong?s participation in this year's Tour Down Under attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the event, injecting 39 million dollars (32 million US) into the South Australian economy, according to the state government.