DRILL

Re­ports say Arm­strong to ride again

The Covington News - - Olympics local sports college football sports -

If Lance Arm­strong is ready to re­turn to cycling then As­tana team boss Jo­hann Bruyneel doesn't want the seven-time Tour de France cham­pion to ride for any­body else.

Cit­ing anony­mous sources, the cycling jour­nal VeloNews re­ported Mon­day on its Web site that the 36-year-old Arm­strong would com­pete with As­tana in the 2009 Tour de France and four other road races — the Am­gen Tour of Cal­i­for­nia, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Ge­or­gia and the DauphineLibere.

As­tana press of­fi­cer Philippe Maertens again de­nied that re­port Tues­day.

Bruyneel said there was no deal to sign Arm­strong.

The As­tana team wasn't even al­lowed to com­pete in this year's Tour af­ter Alexan­dre Vi­nok­ourov was kicked out of the 2007 Tour for test­ing pos­i­tive and the team quit the race.

And Bruyneel is un­cer­tain whether even Arm­strong can re­turn af­ter three years out of pro­fes­sional cycling.

Still, As­tana rider Al­berto Con­ta­dor wel­comed the thought of rid­ing along­side Arm­strong at cycling's most pres­ti­gious race next year.

Maertens said ru­mors that Arm­strong might come out of re­tire­ment had been cir­cu­lat­ing for a few weeks.

Arm­strong at least ap­pears will­ing to sub­mit to drug test­ing.

The U.S. Anti-Dop­ing Agency con­firmed Arm­strong is part of its out-of-com­pe­ti­tion test­ing pool and would be el­i­gi­ble for elite com­pe­ti­tion on Feb. 1, 2009. The Am­gen Tour of Cal­i­for­nia be­gins Feb. 14.

Pat McQuaid, the leader of cycling's gov­ern­ing body, told the AP he learned a cou­ple of weeks ago that Arm­strong is part of USADA's out-of-com­pe­ti­tion test­ing pool. He's el­i­gi­ble for elite com­pe­ti­tion on Feb. 1, 2009.

McQuaid sug­gested Arm­strong might be hop­ing to take ad­van­tage of new, more rig­or­ous drug-test­ing pro­ce­dures in cycling to an­swer skep­tics who sus­pect the cham­pion might have used drugs when he reigned cycling.

Arm­strong did not re­spond to text mes­sages and voice mails left by the AP. His man­ager, Mark Hig­gins also did not re­spond to voice mails left by the AP.

Arm­strong, who over­came tes­tic­u­lar can­cer, has largely turned his com­pet­i­tive juices to run­ning marathons since he re­tired from com­pet­i­tive cycling three years ago.

In Au­gust, he fin­ished sec­ond in the Leadville Trail 100, a lung-sear­ing 100mile moun­tain bike race through the Colorado Rock­ies.

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