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Armstrong returning to U.S. after the Tour Down Under

Lance Armstrong is already heading back to the United States after his successful comeback debut at the Tour Down Under. Armstrong finished 29th overall at 49 seconds behind winner Allan Davis (Quick Step) in his first major stage race since winning the 2005 Tour de France for a record seventh occasion. Next up in Armstrong’s comeback tour is a 10-day training camp in Santa Rosa, California, where he will join up with Astana teammates ahead of the Tour of California (Feb. 14-22).

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Next stop: Astana training camp

By VeloNews.Com

2009 Tour Down Under, stage 6: Armstrong after the final stage.

2009 Tour Down Under, stage 6: Armstrong after the final stage.

Photo: Agence France Presse

Lance Armstrong is already heading back to the United States after his successful comeback debut at the Tour Down Under.

Armstrong finished 29th overall at 49 seconds behind winner Allan Davis (Quick Step) in his first major stage race since winning the 2005 Tour de France for a record seventh occasion.

Next up in Armstrong’s comeback tour is a 10-day training camp in Santa Rosa, California, where he will join up with Astana teammates ahead of the Tour of California (Feb. 14-22).

The Santa Rosa camp will be the second Astana team camp that Armstrong will attend. The seven-time Tour champ first joined his new teammates in a December get-together on the Spanish island of Tenerife.

The entire Astana team will be joined by sport directors and staff in what will likely be the only time Armstrong and Alberto Contador will ride together until July’s Tour de France.

Armstrong will next race at the California tour before making his European debut at Milan-San Remo in March. He’s then expected to race at Criterium International and the Giro di Trentino with a likely start at the Tour of Flanders before starting the Giro d’Italia in May.

Contador, meanwhile, will be making his season debut at the Tour of the Algarve in mid-February before racing the Vuelta al Castilla y León in March.

Contador will likely race in other Spanish races before a likely run through the Ardennes classics ahead of the Dauphiné Libéré in June. The 2008 Giro champ will pass on defending his pink jersey and instead focus on the Tour.

Due to scheduling conflicts, Armstrong will not attend a Feb. 4 press conference with other Astana teammates and staff. Team officials say Armstrong will schedule a press conference in Sacramento ahead of the start of the Tour of California.