SYDNEY - Lance Armstrong is still hoping to make his comeback in next year's Tour Down Under in January despite being ineligible to return to racing until February 1, the record seven-times Tour de France winner said on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old American is banking on an exemption to allow him to take part in the six-day race in South Australia from January 20-25.
"It's my hope that I get down there," Armstrong told Australian Associated Press from his Texas home. "We'll respect whatever decision they come down with."
Riders coming out of retirement have to be part of the sport's anti-doping program for six months before racing under International Cycling Union (UCI) rules.
Armstrong filed paperwork on August 1 with the US Anti-Doping Agency and said he had been drug-tested in late August.
The UCI is due to make a decision this week.
Armstrong plans to race in the Tour of California in February and the Tour de France in July.
Armstrong, who quit the sport following his 2005 Tour de France victory, announced three weeks ago that he was coming out of retirement to raise awareness about cancer. He is a survivor of testicular cancer.