By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is the latest high-profile sporting star to endorse a product distributed by Salton. He joins George Foreman who has famously made more money and fame with his health grill than as a heavyweight boxing champion.

Will Armstrong’s Russell Hobbs Clear2O Water Filtration System achieve the worldwide success of the George Foreman health grill with over 80 million units sold worldwide, and counting though?

It is a different market and a different product but both Armstrong and Foreman have a few things in common. They have each overcome major obstacles in their lives. Armstrong survived cancer to win seven consecutive tours de France.

Foreman overcame major depression and a loss of identity after losing the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match against Muhammad Ali. Foreman regained his identity and then resurrected his career and life, as a preacher and later as the face of the George Foreman health grill. He also became the oldest man ever to win a heavyweight boxing title when he made a comeback at the age of 45.

The stage is now set for Armstrong to make another comeback. This time he is aiming for a triumphant return to the Tour de France at the age of 37, after a four year break from professional cycling.

The Armstrong tie in with the Clear2O filtration jug is ideal as cyclists consume upwards of 10 litres of water every stage during the Tour de France. And Armstrong himself famously lost nearly 6.5 kg of body weight, or six litres of fluid, on just one stage during the 2003 Tour de France. It almost cost him the race. He later said that being even one per cent dehydrated can severely affect your performance and by the time you are feeling thirst, you are already two per cent dehydrated. Armstrong lost nine per cent of his body weight in fluid that day!

The Clear2O filtration jug is a filtration system because it also incorporates a small adaptor hose that is fitted to a tap and then the jug connects to this hose. Russell Hobbs say it fills in 34 seconds and features a solid carbon block filter that removes up to 53 contaminants from the water.

The filter provides up to 189 litres of clean water before needing replacement and the unit has a warning system to indicate when to replace the filter. Replacement filters will be available for retailers in packs of three.

Australians will get the chance to see Lance Armstrong live in person when he races at the Tour Down Under race in Adelaide from 18 to 25 January 2009.