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Lance Armstrong pulls out of planned ride in Texas's Tour de Gruene time trial

Injury to team mate leads banned cyclist to withdraw from unsanctioned event he last rode in 2008

Lance Armstrong pulled out of a scheduled participation in a time trial in the United States today, citing a back injury. His non-appearance at the Tour de Gruene Bicycle Classic in New Braunfels, Texas, comes a little more than a fortnight after USA Cycling said he could not take part in last month’s Gran Fondo Hincapie.

Following his lifetime ban from sport imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in October 2012 and subsequently ratified by the UCI, the 43-year-old is banned from taking part in events sanctioned under the World Anti-Doping Code.

That was the reason USA Cycling, which had been asked by USADA to examine his eligibility to take part in the Gran Fondo Hincapie, gave for its decision that the Texan couldn’t ride in the South Carolina event arranged on behalf of his former US Postal team mate, George Hincapie.

According to the Will Rotzler, race director of the Tour de Gruene Bicycle Classic, a two-man time trial founded 31 years ago, it is an unsanctioned event and Armstrong would therefore have been free to participate.

However, earlier this week, Armstrong told event officials that his team mate Will Black had a back injury and the pair would no longer be able to participate, says Bloomberg Business Week.

Rotzler said: "Many riders must withdraw for many reasons and we fill their slots with teams on the waiting list but this is a big team slot to fill.”

He added that race organisers had made contingency plans to cope with the interest that would have come with Armstrong’s appearance would have brought, but said resources would now be diverted elsewhere.

The cyclist has taken part in the event on three occasions, helping set what was then the course record in his last participation in 2008.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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