Tour de France stage 16 to Bourg Saint Maurice was a quiet day in the saddle for the Astana team but the squad was in the news for several other reasons.

As the riders climbed through the Alps, the Astana team truck was stopped at the Swiss border and searched for three hours. Customs officers searched every rider’s suitcase but nothing suspicious was found according to reports.

Before the start in Martigny, team manager Johan Bruyneel also admitted that he will not be in charge at Astana in 2010.

The Astana team is expected to go into meltdown after the Tour de France and split into two teams.

Lance Armstrong is expected to form his own team, with Bruyneel managing it. Armstrong has been looking for a major sponsor for several months and after Tuesday’s stage he posted this message on his twitter feed. “Making a very cool announcement on Thursday re: a new American partner for our team in 2010 (and beyond). Stay tuned!”

Astana will continue as a major team, with Alberto Contador touted as the leader, alongside Alexandre Vinokourov, who’s ban for blood doping ends on July 24.

Bruyneel wasn’t happy with the way Vinokourov had announced his comeback. “Vinokourov? We’d planned a meeting to talk about his future, but the day before he held a press conference in our hotel. That was unacceptable,” said the Belgian.

French directeur sportif Alain Gallopin is set to stay with Astana.

Just who will ride for Armstrong’s new team is unclear. Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner are certainties and there are also rumours that George Hincapie may quit Columbia for one last season with Armstrong.

Armstrong has already admitted he will probably ride the Tour de France one last time in 2010 and is digging deep to finish on the podium this year.


Tour de France 2009 – the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.


Stage 16: Astarloza snatches Alps stage win as contenders wind up the pace

Stage 15: Contador wins in Verbier as Tour explodes into life

Stage 14: Ivanov wins as Nocentini clings onto yellow

Stage 13: Haussler braves rain for victory in Colmar

Stage 12: Sorensen wins in Vittel as Cavendish goes for green

Stage 11: Cavendish takes fourth win to equal Hoban’s record

Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win

Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire

stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out

Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance

Stage six: Millar’s brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs

Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage

Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second

Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage

Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador

Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint

Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial


Tour de France 2009 News Index>>

Astana to split after Tour

Voigt crashes out of Tour

Armstrong fighting hard for Tour podium place

Wiggins gets closer to Tour podium place

Who’s won what so far in the Tour de France

How the Tour favourite are doing (Rest day 2)

Wiggins climbs to third in Tour overall

Armstrong concedes he can’t win the 2009 Tour

Tom Boonen quits the Tour de France

Stage 15 analysis: Is the Tour now over?

Columbia criticise Garmin for chasing Hincapie

Cavendish reveals he is going for green

Tour comment: The suspense is killing us

Analysis: Why Cavendish is one of the modern greats

Radio ban over-turned for Friday’s Tour stage

Arvesen out of Tour with fractured collarbone

Tour analysis: Why the go slow did cycling no favours on Bastille Day

Cavendish’s odd stage 10 finish celebration explained

No radios today, but experiment could be a one-off

Tour audio: Mark Cavendish after stage 10

Contador brushes aside talk of Armstrong conflict

Cavendish odds-on favourite for Bastille Day victory

The Tour de France Comment: Monday, July 13

How the favourites are doing (first rest day)

Wiggins stays with leaders at Tour

Armstrong: ‘If Contador wins, I’ll be second’

Wiggins ‘on cloud nine’ at Tour de France

Armstrong says Contador attack wasn’t in the plan

Cavendish survives the first Tour mountain stage with ease

Wiggins, the Tour de France overall contender, has arrived


Garmin-Slipstream’s HQ before the Tour

David Zabriskie’s time trial bike

Mark Cavendish on the Tour’s team time trial

David Brailsford interview

Mark Cavendish on the Tour

Jonathan Vaughters on Bradley Wiggins’ chances


Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage four TTT photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones

Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson

Team presentation by Andy Jones

Team presentation by Graham Watson


Tour de France 2009 – the hub

Tour de France 2009: Who’s riding

Tour de France 2009: Team guide

About the Tour de France


Tour de France 2009: Who will win?

Tour de France 2009 on TV: Eurosport and ITV4 schedules

Big names missing from 2009 Tour de France

Tour de France anti-doping measures explained

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Cycling Weekly’s rider profiles


Follow the Tour on Cycling Weekly’s Twitter feed