Nearly one month on from being banned from any sanctioned events for life, Lance Armstrong is preparing to race again this weekend at the Alpine Odyssey in Crested Butte, Colorado. The race is a qualifier for the Leadville 100, a race Armstrong won in 2009 and is expected to compete in again in 2013.
Armstrong was given a life ban and was stripped of all of his professional cycling results since August 1, 1998 after refusing to fight charges by the US Anti-Doping Agency, which accused him of doping to win his seven Tours de France and engaging in a widespread doping conspiracy with his team manager Johan Bruyneel and team doctors and trainers.
He has been banned from participating in the Ironman triathlons and the Chicago Marathon, as both types of events are run under federations which are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Agency code.
Because the Leadville Race Series is not sanctioned by any such federation, race organiser Karen Jayne Leinberger of Life Time Fitness sees no problem with his participation, but denied statements from someone she called "a race volunteer" that Armstrong was invited to get more press coverage and boost the race's image.
"From the Leadville Race Series perspective, Lance - just like any other participant who registers for one of our events - is welcome at any time. You see, our organization is passionate about promoting cycling and hosting great events to further the sport. Is this event sanctioned? No. Many of our Leadville Race Series events are not. In fact, this is true across our Athletic Events portfolio. No special treatment or consideration was given here. It’s going to be a beautiful day in Crested Butte with hundreds of racers. One just happens to favor yellow."