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Astana Headed to Oblivion; What Next?

Lots of informational nuggets are flying around today concerning the future of the World's Greatest Collection of Stage Racers. There are a lot of comments in the post-stage thread, but this subject needs its own post. Here's what we know:

* Johan Bruyneel confirmed today that he will not be part of "Astana" after this season. Presumably this is driven by Alexandre Vinokourov's stated intention to return to Cycling and hijack the team for his own redemption tour, which nobody outside Kazakhstan wants anything to do with. Well, certainly not Bruyneel.

* Lance Armstrong just twittered:

Making a very cool announcement on Thursday re: a new American partner for our team in 2010 (and beyond). Stay tuned!

OK then. Obviously that's a huge deal, so we wait for Thursday, or for the springing of leaks.

* Biggest question: What happens to the Accountant? Alberto Contador told VN/Sporza that he's heard nothing about Bruyneel leaving. This in turn is fueling speculation that he plans to join a newly-formed Spanish team, but that's all speculation. If Contador also hasn't heard about the new American partner, then it'd be more than speculation.

* Second biggest question: who gets the Pro Tour license? A new post-Astana team made up of the current version, with or without Contador, would be Pro-Tour-worthy, while a new squad built around the disgraced and unrepentant Vinokourov would be a complete pariah. But if Astana own the license, then it will take some doing (re. lawsuits) to dislodge it and transfer it to the new Bruyneel team.

* Last item: three American teams?!?! What planet is this again?