Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Armstrong to race in New Mexico

REUTERS , LOS ANGELES

Lance Armstrong prepares for the final stage of the Tour of California in Rancho Bernardo, California, last month.

PHOTO: AP

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will return to competition at this week’s Tour of the Gila in New Mexico after recovering from collarbone surgery, race organizers said on Tuesday.

After initially being barred from riding in the five-day event because of an International Cycling Union rule, Armstrong was subsequently cleared to compete as an individual.

The 37-year-old American, who broke his collarbone in four places during the first stage of Spain’s Vuelta Castilla y Leon last month, will compete with Astana team mates Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner.

“They’re on their way here and they should be in Silver City, New Mexico at around seven o’clock our time,” race director Jack Brennan said.

In a statement released by Astana, Armstrong said: “I’m excited to get back to competitive racing. The recovery training has been going well but nothing compares to getting back into the bunch and racing.”

Armstrong, who had a stainless steel plate and 12 screws inserted to stabilize his fractured right collarbone a month ago, was given the go-ahead to compete this week after USA Cycling reached an agreement with the UCI.

On Monday, the UCI had cited a rule that prevents top professional teams such as Astana from sending organized squads to national-level races.

The Tour of the Gila started yesterday and finishes on Sunday.

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