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.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.