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Armstrong returns Down Under

Having made his first Australian racing appearance at the Tour Down Under in Jaunary this year, Lance Armstrong will return to the South Australian capital, Adelaide, in 2010 as leader of the fledgling RadioShack team in its debut event.

"Announced this am in Dublin w/ @premieremikerann that I'm racing the tour down under again. First race for @teamradioshack," said Armstrong via Twitter.

Armstrong kicked off his professional racing comeback in the ProTour's opening round in Jaunary this year, attracting an unprecedented number of fans to Australia's premier cycling event and establishing close relations with the state's leader, Mike Rann.

He'll again be competing at the Tour Down Under, to be held January 17-24 next year. Premier Rann released a statement announcing the return of the American to Australian shores after he had met with the seven-time Tour de France champion in Dublin shortly after the Tour of Ireland, where Armstrong had been racing.

Today he is possibly Australia's happiest politician, having again secured the services of the biggest drawcard in world cycling to his state. "I'm delighted to announce that Lance Armstrong will be back in Adelaide to race in next year's Tour Down Under," said Rann.

"In another coup for South Australia, this will be the first time Lance's new team, Team RadioShack, will compete anywhere in the world.

"I've been in regular contact with Lance and his management since he made his world cycling comeback in Adelaide at the 2009 Tour Down Under. He really enjoyed his time in South Australia and has told me how much he appreciated the massive support he received from the thousands of cycling fans during the race and from the communities supporting the launch of his global cancer campaign."

The news of Armstrong's return comes on the same day Australian mining company Santos became naming rights sponsor for the Tour Down Under. This follows the exit of wine producer Jacob's Creek several years ago, the company that had held its position of title sponsor since the event's inception in 1999.

Santos has signed a four-year deal and the race will now be known as the Santos Tour Down Under. "The Santos Tour Down Under is a world-class sporting event and we are pleased to support an event that provides substantial economic and community benefits for South Australia," said Santos Chief Executive Officer David Knox.

"The event is deserving of a major partner and we are confident this partnership will help to strengthen the standing of the Santos Tour for years to come," Knox added.

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