New Astana Team Kit 2009 Feat Lance Armstrong

Cycling Weekly released pictures of the Astana cycling team (or should I say Lance Armstrong) today as they prepare for their first race in Australia.

The 2009 kit has hardly changed from last year's but still clearly distinctive of it's Eastern European roots. Did they nick it off Borat? You can buy one from either Wiggle or Evans Cycles.

Talking of Borat, the team actually originates from Kazakhstan, where cycling is a huge sport over there, the Astana is 75% built around Kazakhstan nationals.

So why is media giant Lance Armstrong riding for them? Well mainly due to his long standing association with bike manufacturer Trek and also the management of ex-American pro rider Sean Yates who rode the Tour De France 12 times and coach Johan Bruyneel, who managed Lance Armstrong to his massive 7 Tour De France wins.

Away from Lance Armstrong, there is also Alberto Contador, winner of both the Tour De France, Vuelta Espana and Giro D' Italia and only the 5th rider in history to win all 3 grand tours. He is also the first Spaniard to do so and is seen as a sporting hero in Spain. There are a lot of concerns whether Lance and Alberto will get along. Lance on a media ego high and Alberto a potential legend in the making wanting to protect titles. That battle in it's self will be fascinating.

They are then joined by a fantastic back up team which includes Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer who are easily capable to win races.

The main focus of course is on Lance Armstrong's come back, everywhere he goes seems to be a media circus and there are concerns he will be attacked in the mountains by still sore and jealous Frenchies.

Lance seems to lap it up, loving every second of being back in the limelight. He is riding purely to raise awareness of Livestrong, his charity supporting the fight against cancer, which he remarkably did during his Tour De France. He won't be paid salary nor bonus.

What is also fascinating is the methods he is using to promote himself. He has a blog which has video and photo footage but most interestingly he is using twitter. You can follow his daily routine, follow his training, team rides and he will also be documenting races before and after the event, which knowing Lance will be juicy!

He is also introducing photos to his twitter feeds and if you were subscribed to his feed you would have known before anyone that he was doing the Tour De France and you would have seen his new wheels too. It's a great way to learn about twitter and also a great demonstration of how powerful the program can be in recieving news.

I still believe that Alberto Contador will be the one to watch, his time trialling has improved a huge amount. Watch out for him in the Tour De France.

You can check out my own sportive progress here.

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