Lance Armstrong skipping Critérium International and Flanders
The Astana Cycling team has confirmed that Lance Armstrong will return to Europe to continue his comeback season with races at Milan-San Remo and the Vuelta a Castilla y León.
Armstrong’s focus for the season continues to be the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. The Castilla y León race will allow Armstrong to focus on the time trial and two mountaintop finishes, as well as race alongside teammate Alberto Contador.
At the conclusion of León, Armstrong will return to Austin to resume training in the States. Due to this training he will not compete in the Critérium International or the Tour of Flanders, as BikeRadar originally reported during its interview with Armstrong at the San Diego wind tunnel last November.
According to press officer Philippe Maertens, Armstrong’s return to Texas after the León race is due to a combination of things, namely family obligations and his Livestrong foundation work.
It is yet to be decided which races Armstrong will participate in prior to the Giro d’Italia.
Contador has addressed the weight of expectation placed upon him as he continues his 2009 campaign. Following a win in his first outing, the Volta ao Algarve last month, the young Spaniard has a one from one record thus far this season, and already the number of voices are growing in support of his chances for more wins in the year’s big events.
Speaking during a Sports Gala evening, Contador told reporters, “I know that much is expected of me, everyone has great confidence in my chances, but people must understand that cannot everything always win or be the fastest.”
Contador’s next race is Paris-Nice, where he won the overall classification in 2007, the year he also took the Tour de France crown.
Contador described the deal between him and Armstrong as “pretty good,” but that, “everything is decided by the team, which is really important, rather than by either [of us]. Everyone has their schedule, mine involves riding races and thinking about the good of the team,” he added.