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Armstrong finds new sponsor for Astana

LANCE Armstrong says he's found a new American sponsor to back Astana next year but won't say if he will stay with the team or launch his own squad.

"Making a very cool announcement on Thursday re: a new American partner for our team in 2010 (and beyond). Stay tuned!" Armstrong said on his Twitter feed on Tuesday, without elaborating.

The seven-time Tour de France champion returned to competition this year after 3 1/2 years of retirement, and has previously hinted he could ride for another season - including a return to the Tour.

Armstrong said by phone after Tuesday's 16th stage that there was a "good chance" he will ride next year in the peloton.

"I think there's a good chance. I know what you're getting at...let's just leave it at that, there's a pretty good chance I'll be there," Armstrong said.

He wouldn't say whether he will quit Astana, which has been hampered by serious financial problems this year.

In an e-mail late on Tuesday, Armstrong's manager Mark Higgins wrote that he will ride "for sure" in the Tour next year.

In May, the International Cycling Union threatened to withdraw Astana's racing license after riders went unpaid for two months.

Armstrong is riding for free this season but led teammates in a protest at the Giro d'Italia when they wore jerseys with the sponsor's name faded out. Astana receives most of its financial support from Kazakh state holding company Samruk-Kazyna, but the central Asian nation's economy has been badly hit by the global financial crisis.


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