UCI?s Anti-Doping Director Anne Gripper has said cycling?s top body will have to investigate to see if Lance Armstrong?s comeback at the Tour Down Under on January 21st will fulfill all necessary conditions.
According to Gripper checks will have to be made on regulations to ensure that Armstrong has been in the UCI?s anti-doping pool of tested riders long enough to race.
Armstrong had been confirmed by the Tour Down Under organisers as part of the line-up for the season-opening race. However, this new scenario may put a brake on the American?s comeback.
The confusion appears to have arisen over which set of regulations – WADA?s, the UCI?s, the United States Anti-Doping Agency – govern a comeback, and how long according to each organisation a rider who has been retired needs to form part of the anti-doping pool before starting to race again.
?A decision will be made next week,? Gripper told reporters, ?This is an ongoing investigation.?
?The UCI will follow the rules, regardless of whom the rider is.? UCI President Pat McQuaid added.
The rider must be in the anti-doping system for six months, that?s the rule he must follow.?
Lance Armstrong?s agent, Bill Stapleton, apparently contacted the UCI over the summer about how Armstrong would form part of the biological passport program.
At the time, McQuaid was quoted as saying that he had directed Stapleton to make enquiries at the USADA.
Armstrong is now part of the anti-doping pool of riders who can be tested randomly. The only question is how quickly he can actually return to racing.
Were Armstrong not to race the TDU, it would have a negligible effect on his bid to be in good condition come the summer and the Tour de France. Armstrong presumably would opt to make the Tour of California his first race.
However, it would mean that at least one part of his plans to race in all the four corners of the globe as part of his anti-cancer campaign would have to be suspended.
|ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008|
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