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Tour champion Armstrong races in Gruene

By Gregor Brown

Lance Armstrong will race in this weekend's 25th Tour de Gruene in Texas. The seven-time Tour de France champion, who recently announced his comeback to professional cycling, will participate in two time trial stages on November 1 and 2.

"We can confirm that Lance Armstrong has registered for the individual time trial on Saturday ... and for the team time trial with partner John Korioth on Sunday," said co-organiser Tom Sickmann to Cyclingnews.

Armstrong, 37, announced his comeback to the sport in September. He has participated in several unclassified road and moutain bike events since retiring after the 2005 Tour de France. During the same weekend last year, he competed in the New York City marathon.

The Tour de Gruene's individual time trial is a 16-mile (25.75-kilometre) out and back route along the Guadalupe River, north of San Antonio, Texas. The team time trial is a 27.3-mile (43.935) loop that includes a climb of 13% gradient on the way back to Gruene.

"Lance rode in the Tour de Gruene team time trial in exhibition with Eddy Merckx in 1996 and in earnest with Kevin Livingston in 1997, when they placed second behind Chris Carlson and Mariano Friedick."

Armstrong told co-organiser Will Rotzler "I'll be there" at the Ride for the Roses last Sunday, explained Sickmann. Armstrong will return to professional racing at the Tour Down Under, January 20 to 25, with Team Astana. He confirmed his presence in the Tour of California and the Giro d'Italia, but it is uncertain if he will race the Tour de France.

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