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Friday, March 13, 2009

Astana signs up for Tour of Missouri

The Tour of Missouri scored a major coup this week with the signing of Lance Armstrong's team, Astana, for this year's event.

"This is a big development for the Tour of Missouri," said Chris Aronhalt, the managing partner of event organizer Medalist Sports in a press release. "To have the participation of Astana is yet another huge step for this race. The Tour of Missouri's reputation is evidently very solid in the minds of the top teams and riders. To have Team Astana join the already great line-up of teams is good for all coming to see the 2009 Tour of Missouri."

Tour of Missouri organizers did not say whether Armstrong would indeed race in Missouri.

In addition to Armstrong, Astana is the team of top American Levi Leipheimer, who has won three straight overall titles in the Amgen Tour of California. Astana's roster also includes 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador of Spain, who raced in the inaugural Tour of Missouri, and Tour de France podium finisher Andreas Kloden of Germany.

“We are very much looking forward to coming to the Tour of Missouri. We like to compete in the big American races,” said Johan Bruyneel, the general manager of Team Astana. “The Tour of Missouri is a very good race and will be competitive this year looking at the initial roster of teams. As always, we will bring a very good team to compete for the win.”

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