Armstrong storm creates few waves at Tour of Spain

HUESCA, Spain Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:47pm EDT

1 of 5. Lotto-Belisol Team's Oliver Kaisen of Belgium (L) and Vicente Reynes of Spain cycle during the seventh stage of the Tour of Spain 'La Vuelta' cycling race between Huesca and Alcaniz August 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Joseba Etxaburu

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HUESCA, Spain (Reuters) - RadioShack-Nissan, a fusion of Lance Armstrong's former team and Leopard-Trek, are focused on the Tour of Spain and had no comment on overnight developments that threaten the American's Tour de France wins.

On Thursday, the seven-time Tour de France champion said he would no longer fight doping charges leveled by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which quickly said it would strip him of his titles and ban him from competitive cycling.

Almost oblivious to the media storm surrounding Armstrong's decision, two riders and a team auxiliary sat looking at computers in their hotel lobby on Friday, while mechanics organized bikes and cars for the seventh stage from Huesca to AlcaƱiz in northeast Spain.

The only media present, a television crew, briefly filmed some shots of the team's cars in the warm morning sunshine, then disappeared. Just one fan, clad in a rival team's gear, waited for rider autographs but no other public were visible.

"We have no comment to make," sporting director Jose Azevedo, a retired Portuguese support rider who helped Armstrong through the mountains in his latter Tour wins, told Reuters when asked about the news that the American could lose his titles.

RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel, who faces a lifetime ban from USADA as a result of his involvement in the Armstrong case, is no longer at the race, although he was present for the first four days.

The RadioShack-Nissan structure was formed out of a fusion of Armstrong's 2010 team and the former Leopard-Trek squad, with several key aides of the American still part of the set-up.

Armstrong-related publicity, however, is limited to small logo for his Livestrong Foundation buried amongst a mass of other sponsors on the sides of the team lorries and buses.

Meanwhile at the start of stage seven in Huesca, a spokesman for Armstrong's former Astana team mate Alberto Contador said the double Tour de France winner had no comment on the matter.

"Alberto is focused on the race and has nothing to say about this," the Spaniard's spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told Reuters.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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