Armstrong Set for Tour, But Role Up in the Air

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lance Armstrong will ride in the 2009 Tour de France, marking the first time he will compete in that race and the Giro d'Italia in the same year.

"I'm committed to riding for the best guy," Armstrong said yesterday, acknowledging the taxing schedule could leave him riding in a supporting role in France.

The Giro runs May 9-31, and the Tour begins July 4.

With such a quick turnaround between two grueling races, the seven-time Tour champion acknowledged his body might not perform at the same level it did when he last won the Tour in 2005. "If you've been away for three or four years, it would be silly for anybody to think I could pick up where I left off," Armstrong said.

· COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson gave interim coach Dabo Swinney, 39, a five-year contract to replace former boss Tommy Bowden. . . .

Lane Kiffin, 33, was introduced at Tennessee, becoming the youngest coach to lead a major program. The former coach of the Oakland Raiders is five months younger than the previous youngest coach in division I-A, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald. . . .

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford tore ligaments in his non-throwing hand during the Sooners' win over the weekend and is expected to have surgery following the Big 12 championship game. Coach Bob Stoops expects Bradford to play with a soft cast on his left hand in Saturday's game. . . .

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell had surgery Sunday to repair nine breaks in two fingers of his non-throwing hand, but he won't miss any playing time.

· BASEBALL: Career steals leader Rickey Henderson heads 10 first-time candidates on this year's Hall of Fame ballot, joining holdovers Mark McGwire and Jim Rice, who is eligible for the final time. [Ballot, E6.]

· SOCCER: Cristiano Ronaldo won the Golden Ball awarded to the European Footballer of the Year, becoming the fourth Manchester United player to take the honor and first since winger George Best in 1968.

-- From News Services

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