Paris (cyclingfans.com) - Ending months of speculation regarding who would be the team leader at the 2009 Tour de France, the Astana team of 7-time champion Lance Armstrong and 2007 champion Alberto Contador stated today that Armstrong "without question" will ride for Contador. "Lance has always said that Alberto Contador is the best stage racer in the world today. I've said it. Levi (Leipheimer) has said it. Lance will not attack Alberto in the mountains. Alberto will be protected the entire race. And Lance will be the man immediately in front of Alberto blocking the wind," said Johan Bruyneel, the team's general manager. "It doesn't get any better than that, having a 7-time Tour champion pulling you up mountains."
Armstrong, who recently had surgery to set a broken collarbone suffered at last month's Vuelta a Castilla y Leon race in Spain, is already training again on a stationary bike.
At a gala presentation in Paris this evening, Trek, the official bike sponsor of the Astana team, unveiled a revolutionary new bike code-named "Ventoux" that they believe could result in an Astana sweep of the Tour podium.
Trek's revolutionary new Tour de France bike, "Ventoux," on display this evening at the Place de la Concorde in Paris. "Lance will ride in front, Alberto in back. Alberto will be protected the entire race," said Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel.
The new Trek "Ventoux" features upright handlebars, sleek fenders, a kickstand and a rear rack. We were skeptical that anyone could win anything on this thing (Can David Millar even lift this?) but Trek bike engineer Jack Morris told us, "That's what we want people to think. But imagine the watts two riders can produce together. Lance and Alberto could eliminate the entire peloton in a single stage!" But a rear rack? "Yes, we can put food back there, water bottles, Levi. No need for anyone to fetch bottles or slow down for musettes in the feed zone. If Levi can hang on, we sweep the podium!"
"Lance will not attack Alberto in the mountains. And obviously Alberto cannot attack Lance," said Bruyneel. "This bike ensures that we will ride as a team."