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Friday, December 26, 2008

Lance Armstrong to be a papa again, girlfriend expecting baby


LOS ANGELES, Dec 23, 2008 (AFP) -

Embattled cycling star Lance Armstrong finally has some good news in his life as the seven time Tour de France winner is expecting a baby with his girlfriend, CNN reported on Tuesday.

Cancer survivor Armstrong and Anna Hansen are expecting in June, the American broadcaster reported. It would be the fourth child for Armstrong.

“Anna and I are thrilled to confirm that we are expecting in June and our families are ecstatic and grateful,” Armstrong said. “We are very much looking forward to what 2009 brings on many fronts. We appreciate respecting our privacy, as we are both eager to celebrate the holidays as a family.”

The 37-year-old American Armstrong has three children from his previous marriage with Kristin Richards.

After being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong underwent chemotherapy treatment as the cancer spread to other parts of his body.

The children with his ex-wife were conceived using sperm Armstrong stockpiled prior to his cancer treatment.

It was initially thought the chemotherapy would leave him unable to have further children.

This time the couple are expecting without the use of artificial fertilization, CNN said.

Armstrong retired in 2005 but announced in September he was going to make a comeback. In order to get ready for the 2009 Tour de France, he plans to race in the Giro d’Italia and Australia’s Tour Down Under.

News of his return has drawn mixed reviews in cycling circles.

Armstrong has been accused of doping practices on several occasions, most notably in an article in French sports newspaper L’Equipe in 2005, claiming six urine samples from his 1999 Tour victory contained the blood-boosting drug EPO.

Armstrong has always denied doping and the international cycling body cleared him in 2006.

Armstrong complained last week that he is being targeted by international drug testers before being ruled eligible to return to competition.

Armstrong claims to have been drug tested 11 times in the past 19 weeks and twice in the same week this month. The latest test was conducted by officials from the International Cycling Union on Thursday at his Texas home.

“UCI control. They flew a guy from Germany for it. That makes a ton of sense,” Armstrong wrote on Twitter, a social networking website.

Armstrong was placed under a six-month probation period by the United States Anti-doping Agency at the beginning of August.

Armstrong needs to pass USADA’s out-of-competition testing pool before his cycling comeback can become official.

File Photo: CorVos Pro