News Briefs: Armstrong considering Tour de Georgia; HgH test for Athens

Lance Armstrong has reportedly "penciled in" plans to ride in April's Tour de Georgia, race and team officials said. The five-time Tour de France champion has tentative plans to enter the Georgia race as he tunes up for a bid to win the Tour de France a record sixth time, said Tailwind Sports general manager Dan Osipow. "Most (U.S.) races don't fit into his training schedule, but this one does," Osipow said. Armstrong may be attracted to Georgia if part of the April 20-25 race is scheduled in north Georgia's mountains, said Kathleen Hardison, director of marketing for Tour de

By Associated Press

Lance Armstrong has reportedly “penciled in” plans to ride in April’s Tour de Georgia, race and team officials said.

The five-time Tour de France champion has tentative plans to enter the Georgia race as he tunes up for a bid to win the Tour de France a record sixth time, said Tailwind Sports general manager Dan Osipow.

“Most (U.S.) races don’t fit into his training schedule, but this one does,” Osipow said.

Armstrong may be attracted to Georgia if part of the April 20-25 race is scheduled in north Georgia’s mountains, said Kathleen Hardison, director of marketing for Tour de Georgia.

“Of course Lance’s main focus is the Tour de France and will continue to be,” Osipow said. “But if the Tour de Georgia fits into his training schedule, he’ll be there.”

Hardison said stage planning should be complete by the end of the year.

The race’s future has been in question since its title sponsor, the Dodge division of Daimler-Chrysler, pulled out after one year. Armstrong’s tentative participation could add a big boost to the event’s hunt for a new title sponsor.

Human Growth Hormone test expected for Olympics
World Anti-Doping Agency science director Olivier Rabin has announced that a combined blood-urine test for human growth hormone being developed by British researchers will probably be ready for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“We can detect human growth hormone,” Rabin told Reuters. “We are simply fine tuning. We know we are extremely close. There are very promising signs we will have something for Athens.”

HgH is banned substance that also occurs naturally in the body. It stimulates growth of muscle and bones. First isolated in 1956, it was banned by the IOC in 1989. Because no reliable tests have been developed, it is believed to be one of the most abused performance enhancing drugs in sport. Reliable tests have been elusive, partially because the body naturally produces more HgH after an injury.

British researchers announced last June they had developed a combined blood-urine test that could detect HgH 84 days after use.