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The day in sports

Cycling team leader looks to reunite with Armstrong

September 11, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Astana cycling team leader Johan Bruyneel is looking forward to reuniting with seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

Bruyneel said Wednesday he already had begun discussions with close friend Armstrong, who's coming out of his three-year retirement to try to win an eighth Tour title in 2009.

"He won't have a problem finding a team. But it's clear that the relationship we have means that I can't allow him to go to another team," Bruyneel told reporters at the Spanish Vuelta. "For me it would be nice to be a part of this."

Rabobank team leader Adri van Houwelingen said the Dutch team had no interest in signing Armstrong.

"It's impossible to come back on the level he had before," Van Houwelingen said. "I don't know what his motivation is."

Bruyneel said Armstrong is coming back to promote the fight against cancer globally after doing "all he could" within the United States.

Armstrong apparently is also determined to silence the doubters, who found it hard to believe he could win seven consecutive Tours without the help of performance-enhancing drugs. Some might be hard to convince.

"If he comes back and says, 'I'm back, and I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary,' I don't think that necessarily clears up any outstanding issues from past," said Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Armstrong won all seven Tours with close friend and team director Bruyneel, who said that sponsors and Astana directors still must give the green light for Armstrong to join the team.

Floyd Landis is preparing his own comeback.

The American who won the 2006 Tour de France but then had his title stripped for a positive doping test is looking to return to a team run by Momentum Sports Group.

Landis, 32, did not return messages left by the Associated Press on his phone and via e-mail.

His suspension ends Jan. 30, 2009.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Stanford time changed; Texas game postponed

The start of the game between Stanford and Texas Christian on Saturday will be moved to noon CDT from 6 p.m. because of weather concerns about Hurricane Ike.

The hurricane, projected to hit Texas early Saturday, could bring heavy rain and high winds to the Dallas-Fort Worth area by Saturday night.

The hurricane also has postponed the Arkansas-Texas game from Saturday to Sept. 27.

Louisiana State has scheduled its return to Tiger Stadium on Saturday night to play host to North Texas, one week after postponing its game with Troy because of Hurricane Gustav.

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PRO BASKETBALL

Rivers' contract with Celtics is extended

Doc Rivers received a contract extension Tuesday giving him three more seasons as coach of the Boston Celtics.

Rivers' contract, which had one year left, was extended through the 2010-11 season at an annual salary of about $5.5 million, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team does not release contract details.

Rivers coached the Celtics to their NBA-record 17th championship and their first in 22 years in his fourth season as coach. Their 66-16 regular-season record was the best in the NBA and third best in club history.

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MISCELLANY

Sparks playoff tickets go on sale today

Single-game playoff tickets for the Sparks will go on sale today at 10 a.m. at the Staples Center box office and Ticketmaster.

If the Sparks maintain their third-place position in the Western Conference, they will open play next Thursday at home.

-- Dan Arritt

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Despite a rousing debut at the Honda Center this summer, Affliction postponed its second mixed martial arts show scheduled for Oct. 11 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. No reason was given and no new date was announced.

Affliction's MMA debut July 19 played to an announced crowd of 13,988.

However, lower-than-expected pay-per-view buys, combined with higher-than-usual purses, reportedly cost the promotion several million dollars.

The Oct. 11 card was to match heavyweights Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. The winner was to take on the wildly popular Fedor Emelianenko of Russia.

-- Dan Arritt

Third-seeded Nicolas Almagro was upset by Guillermo Garcia Lopez, 6-4, 7-5, in the second round of the BCR Open Romania at Bucharest. . . . Top-seeded Daniela Hantuchova defeated Olga Savchuk, 6-1, 7-5, to reach the quarterfinals of the Bali Open in Indonesia and Marta Domachowska defeated Jill Craybas, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4.

World champion figure skater Jeffrey Buttle, 26, announced his retirement.

In March, Buttle became the first Canadian to win the men's title since Elvis Stojko in 1997.

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