Arizona race 24 Hours in the old Pueblo is not sanctioned under UCI rules so banned Texan can ride

Lance Armstrong will be joined by former US Postal Service team mates George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and Dylan Casey for a mountain bike race in Arizona next month.

The 45-year-old, banned from competitive cycling for life in 2012, is able to compete in the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo endurance race, held from 17-19 February, because it is not sanctioned under UCI Rules.

While Casey, who was with US Postal from 1999-2002, never rode in the Tour de France, Hincapie and Vande Velde were a key part of the team that helped Armstrong to the seven successive yellow jerseys from 1999-2005 that he was later stripped of.

Both men testified against Armstrong to the United States Anti-Doping Agency as it investigated the extent of doping at US Postal. They were each handed six-month bans in October 2012 at the same time as the Texan’s life ban was confirmed.

Hincapie, then with BMC Racing, never raced professionally again, while Vande Velde returned after his ban to the Garmin-Sharp team and retired after the 2013 UCI Road World Championships.

Some 1,800 cyclists are registered for the event, either individually or as part of a team, and the former US Postal colleagues will be racing it as a quartet.

Event organiser Todd Sadow told Tuscon.com that the foursome were looking forward to it.

He said: "They're cyclists, as you know, and our event tends to attract that core of mountain biking enthusiasts.

"We're really excited to have them out there. We pride ourselves on having a good time, and I'm sure they'll find a way to have a good time with everybody out there."

Armstrong, quoted on VeloNews, said: “We are certainly not going to be contending for any victories, but we’re looking forward to it, looking forward to having a good time, meeting the other racers.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.