PARIS (Reuters) – Lance Armstrong will ride the classic races as part of his comeback from retirement but still has to decide whether he will race in the Tour de France, the American said on Wednesday.
The seven-times Tour de France winner, who said in September he was coming out of a three-year retirement from professional cycling, was reluctant to give any further indication on whether he would take part in next year's Tour.
"I am going to Italy (Giro), I am going to do Tour of Flanders, all the classics of cycling (except Paris-Roubaix), Tour of California, Criterium International, Circuit de la Sarthe," the 37-year-old told the Cyclingnews website (www.cyclingnews.com).
The one-day classic races that usually taking place in the spring include the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Milan-San Remo, the Fleche Wallonne, the Amstel Gold Race, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders .
Armstrong, who won the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005, always focused his whole season on the world's greatest stage race at the expense of the classics.
The Astana rider, however, remains unsure of his participation in the 2009 Tour.
"I want to say that I am not trying to be coy. I am not playing games with them (Tour organizers), with the fans, the media. I simply don't know and I am not in a hurry to decide," Armstrong, who was doing aerodynamics testing in California, said.
Armstrong has had a difficult relationship with Tour organizers, the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), who said last month his return to the race would be "embarrassing."
French daily L'Equipe, owned by ASO's parent company EPA (Editions Philippe Amaury), claimed three years ago that samples of Armstrong's urine from 1999 showed traces of the banned blood-boosting substance erythropoietin.
However, Armstrong never tested positive and was cleared by a Dutch investigator appointed by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
At that time, then World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound said Armstrong's clearance was "strange."
(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Padraic Halpin)
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