Cycling: Delay leaves Armstrong's first division ride in doubt

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The Independent Online

UCI, cycling's world governing body, has announced it will confirm the line-up of the sport's first division this afternoon.

A question mark still hangs over the inclusion of Lance Armstrong's US Postal Service team who were unable to meet the first deadline for completing documentation on 22 December, together with four other teams including the sprinter Mario Cipollini's Domina Vacanze squad. It would be a huge blow to the prestige of the highest profile racing team if they were to fail to register and resign Armstrong to a season of missed races.

However, the signs were looking good yesterday when it was announced by race organisers that Armstrong is to compete in the season opening race, the Tour of the Algarve.

The American cyclist, who won his fifth straight Tour de France title last summer, will headline the 18 to 22 February event. The race begins in Albufeira and covers mostly a flat coastal area, but also includes two mountain stages through a hilly inland part of Portugal's southernmost province.

The Tour of the Algarve is a little-known event. Miguel Indurain, also a five-time winner of the Tour de France, took part eight years ago.