Spain’s 2006 Tour winner signs one-year deal to join Contador at Astana.
|Armstrong has admitted an eighth Tour title would be extremely difficult [EPA]|
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has signalled his intent to retire from his new Radioshack racing team after the 2011 season.
But that won’t interfere with his determination to win an eighth Tour title in the next two years.
The 38-year-old American, who returned to cycling in January after three and a half years in retirement, has set up his new Radioshack team and taken most of his former Astana team mates with him, except great rival and Tour champion Alberto Contador.
“After 2011, I’ll retire,” Armstrong told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper from a training camp in Arizona.
“This team hasn’t been constructed for me, I’m 38. Our aims go further than Armstrong.”
Armstrong had previously talked of his Radioshack team as being the ‘best in the world’, in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
“If you look at the Tour this year, we had the strongest team in the race.
“Of the nine riders from last year’s Tour de France squad from Astana, eight are now on RadioShack. We took the vast majority of the riders from the team that we wanted, so it remains a strong team.
“We lack that super high-level favourite like Alberto, but I like the chances with the strong guys we have,” he said.
The rivalry between Contador and Armstrong was a feature of last year’s Tour.
The Spaniard has opted to stay with the Kakazh-funded Astana and will be joined by 2006 Tour winner Oscar Pereiro.
Astana are training in Italy this week and Armstrong told the Gazzetta dello Sport said the Spaniard would be difficult to beat in France next July whoever he races with.
“Alberto is an incredible talent, better than anyone both on the bike and mentally. I’m not an idiot, it will be hard to beat him”
“Alberto is an incredible talent, better than anyone both on the bike and mentally.
“I’m not an idiot, it will be hard to beat him.
“Some say impossible. We’ll see,” said Armstrong, who blamed a “clash of personalities” for 2009’s tension with Contador.
Armstrong, who welcomed news the Giro d’Italia could start from Washington in 2012, also said he would end his independent doping controls and stop putting results online because they caused too much speculation and authorities test constantly anyway.