When Lance Armstrong announced his comeback to professional cycling and that he would join the Astana team, you could almost hear Alberto Contador‘s chin hit the floor.

At first, 2007 Tour de France winner Contador appeared less than happy to be sharing the Astana team with seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong, but he has now told French sport paper L’Equipe that he is welcoming the Texan’s return to competition.

“He’s a great champion who knows how to sell the sport,” Contador told the paper. “His return brings with it a number of advantages, and not just the extent to which he will take the media spotlight off me.”

Contador also hinted that the team will rally behind whichever leader shows the best form during the 2009 Tour de France.

“I am going to concentrate on my race programme to get to the start in the best shape possible, but not with the obsession of being leader,” Contador said.

“It’s the terrain which will decide during an event. We’ll not assess our performances on the morning of July 4 to designate a leader.”

During the interview, Contador also expressed his admiration of Armstrong’s training regime and his huge determination.

“I can’t say it any simpler,” said Contador. “This guy is the best cyclist in the world.”

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