Controversy exists down in Australia about the targeted comeback race for Lance Armstrong -- 'The Tour Down Under'. The cycling governing body -- the UCI -- rules say an athlete must be registered for anti-doping at least 6 months in advance of a major sanctioned race. Armstrong may or may not qualify under the rules.
The Age expresses some doubt that Armstrong meets the 6 month anti-doping rule.
Cycling's world governing body, the UCI, has raised doubts that the seven-time Tour de France champion will be legally eligible for the January 20-25 event in Adelaide.
Last Wednesday, the Tour Down Under triumphantly announced Armstrong would start his high-profile competitive comeback at the race.
But now there is a potentially-decisive hitch.
Speaking at the world road titles in Varese, Italy over the weekend, UCI boss Pat McQuaid said Armstrong had to show he had registered with an anti-doping program within six months of the Tour's start.
"The rules state that he must be in the anti-doping system within a six-month period," McQuaid said.
"I don't know on what date Armstrong asked to be registered on the programme. But the UCI will apply these rules, regardless of the athlete."
There are reports that Armstrong is not eligible to start competition until February 1.
"We've done all we can do, we're waiting for an official opinion on the situation," Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur said.
United States cyclist Lance Armstrong is on track to make his official comeback to professional road racing in Australia in January, organizers of the Tour Down Under said Sunday.
The 37-year-old announced his retirement after winning the Tour de France a record seven times in 2005 but has said he will try for an eighth triumph in the world's most prestigious road race.
The Tour Down Under, the first stage race outside Europe to be accorded the cherished ProTour status, attracts some of the world's top teams to Adelaide Jan 18-25.
Race director Mike Turtur said he believed Armstrong would have been registered in an International Cycling Union (UCI) anti-doping programme for the requisite six months before competition.
'That was mentioned by the (UCI) president some time ago in a press release when he announced the comeback, so we were in the understanding that everything was in place,' he said.