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Rubiera may postpone retirement if Armstrong returns

Lance Armstrong’s comeback could keep José Luís “Chechu” Rubiera on the bike for another year. The 35-year-old Spanish rider was planning on retiring at the conclusion of the 63rd Vuelta a España, but now he’s considering racing one more season to be part of Armstrong’s planned return to competition in 2009.

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By Andrew Hood

Lance Armstrong’s comeback could keep José Luís “Chechu” Rubiera on the bike for another year.

The 35-year-old Spanish rider was planning on retiring at the conclusion of the 63rd Vuelta a España, but now he’s considering racing one more season to be part of Armstrong’s planned return to competition in 2009.

“I had convinced myself that I was finished with cycling, but now there’s an offer on the table for me to stay with the team one more year,” Rubiera told VeloNews on Thursday. “I enjoyed the best years of my career with Armstrong and if he’s coming back, I might want to be around to see that.”

Rubiera joined U.S. Postal Service in 2001 and helped Armstrong win five of his seven Tours.

A solid climber who won a stage in the 1997 Giro d’Italia, Rubiera was a key member of the “Blue Train” that helped drive Armstrong to Tour dominance.

Along with Roberto Heras and Victor Hugo Peña, he was one of the “Three Amigos” who joined Armstrong’s push to bring more international riders onto the team.

Rubiera said he will consider the offer in the coming days.

“It depends on the racing schedule, but I am feeling good this season. Last year I had a really bad season and I was thankful for the team to let me return this season,” Rubiera said.

“Lance made history with his seven victories and now I am sure he’s going to make history again with his comeback. One more year with him wouldn’t be bad.”