12 Oct 2008

UCI slammed for Armstrong 'favours'

5:01 am on 12 October 2008

The International Cycling Union has come in for some harsh criticism after bending its own rules to allow the American star Lance Armstrong to return to professional cycling at the Tour Down Under.

Armstrong's plan to break his three-year hiatus at the Australian race from January 20-25 appeared compromised last week when it emerged his return would not fall within the dates of strict UCI anti-doping procedures.

Retired or inactive riders must register with an anti-doping agency at least six months before their first official race, which would have meant Armstong couldn't return until February 1.

The German cycling federation chief Rudolf Scharping says bending the rules for the seven-time Tour de France winner is a mistake.

And a team boss, who didn't want to be named, says it's scandalous.