Lance Armstrong‘s comeback to professional cycling gathered more pace this week when the seven-times Tour de France winner joined his 2009 Astana team-mates in Tenerife and held a press conference to the assembled media.

Armstrong was joined on the stage by team-mate and 2007 Tour winner Alberto Contador and team manager Johan Bruyneel. The Texan answered a range of questions fielded by journalists, which covered everything from his feeling towards the French to using Twitter.

One surprise announcement was Armstrong’s interest in riding the Tour of Ireland. He hinted that the Irish stage race would fit into his 2009 schedule and plans to take his LiveStrong cancer initiative to a wider, global audience.

You can read the whole transcript of the conference in our news section.

Photos by Andy Jones

Lance ArmstrongArmstrong arrives at the press conference

Lance ArmstrongMedia from all over the world descended on Tenerife to see Armstrong and Contador

Lance ArmstrongArmstrong and Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel

Lance ArmstrongThe seven-times Tour winner fields questions from the press

Lance ArmstrongTeam solidarity, or arm-wrestling match? Armstrong and Contador shake on it

Lance ArmstrongAlberto Contador and Johan Bruyneel

Lance ArmstrongLance returns fire

Lance ArmstrongHaving a laugh

Armstrong to ride Tour of Ireland?
Lance Armstrong press conference transcript
Lance Armstrong: Exclusive interview
Armstrong trains with Contador for first time
Armstrong to ride 2009 Tour de France
Armstrong: still no drug-testing program
Armsrong visits Paris but doesn’t want to talk about Tour de France
Armstrong speaks to Cycle Sport
Armstrong vs Hincapie at Tour Down Under
Armstrong to meet Tour officials before deciding on participation
Armstrong still playing it cool over Tour
Armstrong says he could not have hoped for a different Tour
Contador to stay with Astana and Armstrong
Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France comeback in doubt
Armstrong to ride the 2009 Giro d’Italia
Armstrong rejects offer to re-test 1999 samples
Armstrong knew about six month rule
French offer Armstrong re-test of his 1999 Tour samples
Amrstrong hopes UCI show ‘common sense’ for Aussie return
Armstrong comeback in Tour Down Under faces possible delays
Watch Armstrong in Vegas ‘Cross race
Armstrong confirms Ventoux time trial for 2009?
Armstrong’s comeback starts in Australia
Wednesday Comment (September 24)
Contador says riding with Lance could be difficult
UCI president rubbishes Armstrong Tour buyout claims
Bruyneel talks up Armstrong’s chances
The Wednesday Comment, Armstrong Edition (September 10)
Tour de France: Lance can race in 2009
Contador: Lance could win eighth Tour
Lance confirms 2009 comeback
Armstrong: No smoke without fire?