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Cycling Weekly has learned that the UCI wrote to Lance Armstrong on two separate occasions to explain that he would not be eligible to ride the Tour Down Under before the American announced his intention to make it his comeback race.

Last week Armstrong said he would make his competitive return at the Australian race, but that plan appeared in jeopardy when the UCI revealed that he may not be eligible because of a rule that states riders returning from retirement must give six months' notice.

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.