The Astana team arrived in Tenerife on Monday for its first training camp ahead of the 2009 season. Sporza reported that it's the first occasion 'new' recruit Lance Armstrong has turned out for the squad, after earlier announcing his intention to return to France for next year's Tour.
The 37-year-old American has expressed his satisfaction in the Tour's management, part of the reason he has decided to ride the year's second Grand Tour after having raced the Giro d'Italia. "I have confidence in the new leadership of the Tour," Armstrong told reporters in Tenerife. "In the Tour, I will do my job for the team."
Following an operation last week, Alberto Contador was also present at the team's training camp and seemed in high spirits, praising Armstrong's decision to ride the Tour. "His vast experience will help us," said the Spaniard. "It's unclear what his current form is like, but he will make us better. He is very important for the Tour."
Contador reiterated that his main goal for 2009 will be the Tour, possibly putting to rest claims that Armstrong's arrival may have begun a rift between the prodigiously talented Spaniard and Astana team management. It appeared as though Contador could have been resistant to the American's comeback as resources and focus may have been diverted away from his bid for a second title in France.
It now appears that the 37-year-old will be a domestique at the Tour – albeit with massive star value attached, more befitting of a team captain. This was reflected in his statement, "During the Tour I'll do my best for Astana," made before heading out for a ride with the team.