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Armstrong bid for swim comeback thwarted

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Disgraced US cyclist Lance Armstrong has been barred from entering a swim race in Texas following objections from the sport's global governing body, organizers confirmed on Thursday.

Armstrong, 41, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins and banned for life before later confessing to drug-taking throughout his career, had hoped to compete in a US Masters Swimming event in Austin this weekend.

However Armstrong's participation was swiftly opposed by swimming's global governing body FINA, who said in a statement the cyclist should be barred from competing under anti-doping regulations.

"Lance Armstrong is not eligible to race in US Masters Swimming competitions," USMS, which governs adult competitive swimming in the United States, said in a statement.

USMS said while Armstrong was a member of the organization, FINA and US Aquatic Sports officials had concluded that Armstrong's lifetime ban prevented him from competing in sanctioned meetings, even minor ones such as the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships which will be contested in a non-Olympic 25-yard pool in Austin.

"The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Mr. Armstrong from competition. FINA accepts the WADA Code and USMS, as a member of United States Aquatic Sports, recognizes and respects adjudications under the Code," USMS said.

USMS executive director Rob Butcher earlier told The New York Times that he had informed Armstrong's agent the disgraced cyclist would not be allowed to compete and Armstrong withdrew his entry.

"After discussion with United States Aquatic Sports and FINA, it was agreed that although Mr. Armstrong is eligible for membership in US Masters Swimming, he is not currently eligible to compete in sanctioned swimming competitions, regardless of the type of course," USMS concluded.

In October 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his Tour titles as well as all other results starting in August 1998, and was banned for life after the USADA determined he was the key figure in a sophisticated doping program on his US Postal Service cycling team.

Armstrong finally made a belated admission of doping, after many denials, in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, in which he said he used a combination of blood-doping transfusions, blood-boosting EPO and testosterone throughout his career.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130404/armstrong-bid-swim-comeback-thwarted