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Armstrong comeback faces delay
Doping rules may set back Lance Armstrong's planned cycling comeback.
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2008 15:20 GMT

Lance Armstrong may have to wait to bid for more trophies [GALLO/GETTY]
Lance Armstrong's planned comeback in Australia may be thwarted by doping rules.

Seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong said this week he wanted to return to the sport in the Tour Down Under with the Astana team in January.

But International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said on Saturday that riders entering or re-entering professional cycling need to be in the UCI's anti-doping programme six months ahead of competing.

The race in Australia takes place in four months' time, on January 20-25.

Uncertainty

McQuaid said the UCI was looking into the matter but added it only "seems" that the American could have to delay his comeback.

"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 said at the world championships in Varese, Italy.

Armstrong, 37, was dogged by doping allegations during his career but never tested positive for a banned substance.

French newspaper L'Equipe reported that six urine samples provided during the 1999 Tour showed traces of the banned blood-boosting agent EPO (erythropoietin).

No violation

An independent investigation later cleared Armstrong of any doping violation.

McQuaid said they continued to be "unfounded allegations".

"The UCI has no possibility of looking into Armstrong's past," he added.

Pat McQuaid is looking into the rules [GALLO/GETTY]
He also confirmed that some riders' samples from this year's Tour would be re-examined by the French anti-doping authorities from Monday but said he knew nothing more.

Feud finished

McQuaid was more interested in talking about the agreement reached on Thursday which ended the long-running feud between the UCI and the organisers of the Tour and other top races.

Talks had been underway since the Beijing Olympics in August over disagreements on the sport's calendar.

"There are still some relationships to be rebuilt and redeveloped. I hope I can bring the relationship back to what it was between the UCI and those organisations," McQuaid said on Saturday.

Source:
Agencies
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