Armstrong and Astana invited to race CA and UK

Tours of California and Britain extending invitations

Lance Armstrong is feeling the love on several fronts lately, as organizers from both the Tour of California and Tour of Britain have extended invitations to his Astana team to race in 2009.

"We applaud the commitment that Lance Armstrong has made to return to cycling for the purpose of raising awareness for cancer. All of us at AEG, the Amgen Tour of California, and Breakaway from Cancer share his commitment to supporting those who are engaged in this important fight," said Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports, owner and operator of the Amgen Tour of California.  

"The level of competition, international attention, commitment to fair and clean racing, and passionate fans for which the Amgen Tour of California has become known, make our event a perfect fit for his noble endeavor.

"We met with Lance's representatives in New York Tuesday and outlined a broad plan to help our Breakaway from Cancer charity and the Lance Armstrong Foundation make an important difference in the lives with those afflicted with cancer. It is our hope to see Lance Armstrong and his Astana teammates in our race next year," Messick added.

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California will have run an 800-mile course from Sacramento to Escondido from February 14-22, 2009.

Tour of Britain extends invitation

Tour of Britain organisers have also invited Armstrong and his Astana team to take part in their race next September.

An official invitation has been sent to the American cyclist, who will make his comeback to the sport in 2009 after three years away, regarding the opportunity to participate in The Tour of Britain and allowing him to promote his Livestrong charity and its role in fighting cancer in the UK.

Armstrong announced earlier this month that he is returning to cycling in an effort to win the Tour de France for a record eighth time, while he officially announced details of his comeback in New York at the Clinton Global Initiative Wednesday.

"Lance Armstrong’s involvement next September would be his first appearance at the Tour of Britain, and would see crowd numbers surpass even those experienced this year when in excess of one million watched the race from the roadside, while several hundred thousand watched the nightly highlights on ITV," said Peter Hodges of the Tour of Britain organization.

The 2009 Tour of Britain is scheduled to finish on the same iconic circuit in central London as used to open the 2008 event. 

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