6 Feb 2009

Landis and Armstrong to race in California

11:55 am on 6 February 2009

The return to competitive cycling by Americans Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis has helped ratchet up interest in this month's Tour of California.

Seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong competed for the first time in three and a half years at last month's Tour Down Under in Australia while Landis has just completed a two-year doping ban.

Both men will command huge media interest, Armstrong as one of the sport's greatest riders and Landis as the 2006 champion in California who went on to win that year's Tour de France before being stripped of his title after failing a dope test.

Several other big names will be contesting the 1,200-kilometre, nine-day race, including twice defending champion Levi Leipheimer, 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and last year's Olympic time trial gold medallist Fabian Cancellara.