By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, South Australia
There's an important rider returning to the peloton at this year's Tour Down Under. He's in his 30s, is a Tour de France winner and has finished in the top 10 on a Tour de Suisse stage. Controversy surrounded his Tour de France victory. You know who I'm talking about, right?
While Stuart O'Grady has dubbed this year's event Tour de Lance, it's not America's Armstrong I'm referring to. No, I'm talking about Spaniard Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne), who is making his comeback following a horrifying crash at last year's Tour de France.
The two Tour champions share few similarities in their careers. Both have controversial Tour victories – Armstrong due to having unfounded accusations of doping leveled against him and Pereiro for inheriting the win after Floyd Landis was stripped of the title due to a doping positive. Beyond this the only other similarity is that both are making a comeback at this year's opening ProTour race.
Otherwise the riders hail from very different worlds. Armstrong has become a crusader in the fight against cancer after claiming 102 professional wins. Pereiro has just 12 professional victories and received the least media attention of any modern day Tour winner due to the nature of his victory.
Both, however, command a strong presence in any room they enter. Despite having to speak through a translator as a non-English speaker, Pereiro holds the eye of each reporter that fires a question at him.
Read the full news feature with Oscar Pereiro.