Lance Armstrong is confirmed to ride the Tour de Suisse, the race organisers have announced. It will be the first time the RadioShack rider has ridden the race since winning it in 2001.
The Tour de Suisse runs over nine stages from June 12 to 20, for a total of 1353.1 kilometres.
The 38-year-old will use the race as a final preparation for the Tour de France, which starts in the Netherlands on July 3. His last race was the Tour of California, which he had to abandon after a crash. He is scheduled to ride the Tour of Luxembourg, starting Wednesday.
"Lance is a big star and it is important to have him in the starting line-up," said race spokesman Rolf Huser.
Armstrong will face strong competition at the race, particularly from Team Saxo Bank. The Danish team is sending not only defending champion Fabian Cancellara but also brothers Andy and Fränk Schleck, who last year finished second and fifth in the Tour de France.
"It's going to be interesting to see the difference between Fabian and Lance," said Huser, who is also Cancellara's agent. "There is the new generation and one of the biggest riders that cycling has."
In addition, the race announced that it has issued its final wildcard invitation to the Dutch Professional Continental team Vacansoleil.