From the Tour Down Under:
A strong Astana team will support Lance Armstrong when he makes his return to professional cycling at the 2009 Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
Tour Down Under Race Director, Mike Turtur, believes victory by the Astana team is not out of the question.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We all know that Lance Armstrong is a champion, but the rest of his Astana team mates heading Down Under should not be underestimated,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mike Turtur.
Assan Bazayev, Steve Morabito and Maxim Iglinskiy all competed in AstanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team at the 2008 Giro dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Italia. The Astana team finished seventh on Stage 1 of the 2008 Giro dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Italia, with Astana rider Alberto Contador going on to win the overall event.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With experienced Grand Tour riders like Bazayev, Morabito, Iglinskiy and Ruberia, I predict fierce competition from Astana from day one,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mike Turtur.
Jose Luis Ruberia will be reunited with Lance Armstrong, a former team mate, having ridden in five of ArmstrongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tour de France-winning teams.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The eyes of the world will be watching Lance on his return to racing, but there will also be over 130 other riders in the peloton ready to make their mark at the first ProTour race of the season,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mike Turtur.
Astana Team Manager for the Tour Down Under, Sean Yates, was a European professional cyclist from 1982 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 1996. He wore the yellow jersey in the 1994 Tour de France, making him only the third British rider to do so.
The full rider roster for the Astana teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Tour Down Under line up is: Lance Armstrong (USA), Assan Bazayev (KAZ), Jesus Hernandez (ESP), Michael Schar (SUI), Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ), Steve Morabito (SUI) and Jose Luis Ruberia (ESP). Team Manager, Sean Yates (UK), will guide the Astana team at the event.