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Lance To Race For Kazakhstan?


Armstrong during the 2004 Tour de France

Armstrong during the 2004 Tour de France

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has announced that he will return to cycle racing after retiring in 2005.

"I have decided to race my bicycle again," Armstrong, a cancer survivor, said as he launched the "Live Strong Global Awareness Campaign" in New York. "With this campaign we feel that by racing the bicycle all over the world, beginning in Australia, ending in France at the global summit, it is the best way to promote this initiative, it's the best way to get the word out."

Before Armstrong had a chance to announce which team he will race with, the deputy head of the Kazakh Cycling Federation, Nikolai Proskurin, told news agencies that he will join Team Astana, which is sponsored by a group of Kazakh state-owned companies.

"I believe Armstrong will become a new sporting brand for Kazakhstan," Proskurin told AFP. "He's a great sportsman and courageous man and he will exemplify Kazakhstan's rising talents in the best possible way."

Proskurin added that Armstrong has agreed to take part in five races, including the Tour de France, for no pay or bonuses for the first year.

Armstrong later confirmed that he will race with Team Astana, rejoining Johan Bruyneel, who was his team director for all of his Tour de France victories with the U.S. Postal and Discovery teams from 1999-2005.

"I would just remind you and repeat that carrying this 'Live Strong' message around the world, whether it be on a bicycle or through the media, is the No. 1 goal," he said. "And I think we have the team in place to do that."

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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