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Australia's Allan Davis (Quick Step).
Australian sprinter confirms start in South Australia, Astana deal could be close
Reigning Tour Down Under champion Allan Davis has confirmed that he will continue his unbroken record of appearances at the race, raising further speculation that he is close to signing with Astana for 2010.
Davis, 29, left Belgian squad Quick Step last month and has since been linked with a move to the Kazakh ProTour team. The latter has yet to announce its full roster for the race, however comments made by Davis to Australian media sources on Saturday are an indication that an official announcement could be made soon.
"I'll be [at the Tour Down Under]," Davis told Australian website adelaidenow.com.au. "That's for certain; I've just got to get some legal advice before I can make the official announcement."
Davis' confirmation of his participation in the Tour Down Under will see him race the event for a record twelfth time. He is the only rider to have competed in each edition of the race since its inaugural edition in 1999.
For the first time, however, Davis will return to Adelaide as the defending champion in the event. A winner of six Tour Down Under stages throughout his career, Davis claimed the overall title at the 2009 Tour, 25 seconds ahead of compatriot Stuart O'Grady.
If Davis does confirm his signing with Astana, he will be joined in Adelaide by former Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro. The Spaniard confirmed last month that he will return to the race, where he finished 27th last year, 59 seconds behind the winner, Davis.
The 2010 Tour Down Under begins in the town of Clare, South Australia, on January 19 and concludes in Adelaide on January 24. The six-stage race will be preceded on January 17 by the Cancer Council Helpline Classic circuit race in Adelaide.