COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE
Date: 8 octobre / 8 October 2008
Lance Armstrong to start the 2009 Tour Down Under
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has decided to approve Lance Armstrong’s participation in the forthcoming Tour Down Under in Australia, to be held 20-25 January, the first event of the 2009 UCI ProTour.
This decision has been made after a careful assessment of the situation, taking into account both the applicable regulations and the imperatives of the fight against doping which is the UCI's number one priority.
According to Article 77 of the Anti-Doping Regulations introduced in 2004, a retired rider may only return to competition by informing the UCI six months in advance in order to allow him/her to be available for out-of-competition testing. Consequently, Lance Armstrong would only be able to return to the sport at international level from 1 February 2009, a week after the end of the Australian event.
In respect of this situation, the UCI has taken into account the progress made in its anti-doping programme since 2004. As a result of the improvements implemented (dramatic increase in the number of tests, particularly out-of-competition, and the introduction of the biological passport), riders are now subject to a much-reinforced system of monitoring compared to that of the past.
Consequently, the aim of Article 77 at the time of its introduction in 2004 (to ensure that a rider returning to competition is subject to the same degree of testing as active riders) can be better achieved through careful application of the current methods of the anti-doping programme than by the strict application of a time period. The UCI can confirm that Lance Armstrong has and will be the subject of very strict monitoring throughout the period running up to his return to the peloton.
UCI Press Service