Tour OKs Armstrong Return

7-time American champ OK to ride in France next summer—as long as team stays clean
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 25, 2008 11:56 AM CDT
Lance Armstrong speaks as Tayler Phinney and Doug Ulman, CEO of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, look on at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting yesterday in New York.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Lance Armstrong can return to the Tour de France in 2009 if his team avoids doping scandals, the race director said today after the seven-time champion confirmed his comeback with the Astana squad. The team was barred from this year's Tour because of doping problems in the past. “They should be there if there are no ethical problems,” Christian Prudhomme said.

He says he isn't sure whether Armstrong can win after 3 years away, but almost everyone is talking about his surprise comeback. Prudhomme adds that he wants the race—which starts July 4 in Monaco—retains its "humanity," meaning that riders seem to make a real effort and don’t fly up tough mountain passes as when doping was more widespread.