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Lance Armstrong allowed to race in Australia

Latest update : 2008-10-09

The International Cycling Union (UCI) will allow Lance Armstrong to race Australia's Tour Down Under in January despite his not informing the UCI six months in advance as the rules require.

Lance Armstrong can make his comeback in January's Tour Down Under despite a breach of the rules, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Wednesday. 

The seven-times Tour de France winner, who retired in 2005, said last month he would return to the sport in Australia with the Astana team. 

However, the UCI's Article 77 states a retired rider may only return to competition by informing the UCI six months in advance, in order to be available for out-of-competition dope testing.
 
Despite the Jan. 20-25 race coming four months after the 37-year-old American's decision to return, the UCI has dropped the requirement. 

"The aim of Article 77 ... can be better achieved through careful application of the current methods of the anti-doping programme than by the strict application of a time period," the UCI said in a statement.
 

"The UCI can confirm Lance Armstrong has and will be the subject of very strict monitoring throughout the period running up to his return to the peloton." 

The governing body's decision to let Armstrong race contrasts with comments made by UCI President Pat McQuaid at last month's world championships in Varese, Italy. 

"The UCI will follow the rules. If the rules state he has to be in the anti-doping programme for six months, that's the rule we will follow," he told a news conference. 

Armstrong, who fought off cancer and unproven doping allegations during his career, is partly returning to cycling to promote a global cancer awareness campaign.

Date created : 2008-10-09

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