Lance Armstrong has touched down in Adelaide, Australia, ahead of next week’s Tour Down Under, where his new RadioShack squad will make its racing debut.
Armstrong spoke briefly to the media on his arrival, and said that he feels in better shape than last year when he made his comeback to professional racing at the race with the Astana team.
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“I feel good,” said Armstrong. “I mean I’m a little tired now because it’s a long day, but physically, a little better than last year.”
“The indications we had in training, based on being on the same roads I was on just before the Tour Down Under last year, the condition is better, but we’ll see how the race unfolds – there’s other guys who are big, big favourites here.”
Armstrong’s RadioShack team is hoping that its Belgium sprint signing Gert Steegmans will claim a stage win or two to place the US-based squad on the right track for the season ahead.
When asked about Steegmans’ chances for a stage win, Armstrong said: “He’s been training incredibly hard. He’s been training for the spring classics, so this is important for him.
“It takes a special kind of sprint, I think, but we have the guys to work for him and lead him out if need be.”
Armstrong also revealed that he already had doubts about the structure of the Astana team at the end of last year’s race.
“To be honest, leaving here last January, I wasn’t sure what the team situation was going to be like. I knew I wasn’t going to do another season with Astana.
“Fortunately RadioShack came along and gave us their support, so that made it easy to come back.”
Armstrong is in Australia with his partner Anna Hansen and their seven-month old son, Max. They flew into Adelaide on a private jet from Hawaii, where Armstrong has been training for the past two weeks.
The 2010 Tour Down Under starts on Tuesday, January 19, and runs until Sunday, January 24. The stage race is preceded by the one-day Cancer Council Classic criterium in Adelaide on Sunday, January 17.
We will be covering the race in full here on www.cyclingweekly.com, with daily stage reports and photographs from Graham Watson.