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Armstrong will race in California

September 26, 2008|Diane Pucin; Greg Johnson; Eric Sondheimer; Lance Pugmire; | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Lance Armstrong announced Thursday that he would ride in America's biggest cycling stage race, the Amgen Tour of California.

The news came one day after Armstrong officially announced his return to professional cycling after a three-year break. However, he had not listed the Feb. 14-22 California race on his schedule.

Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, which owns and operates the race, said that his company and Armstrong came to an agreement that does not include any appearance fees for Armstrong.

Armstrong, who retired from cycling after winning a record-setting seventh consecutive Tour de France in 2005, will open his comeback season in January in Adelaide, Australia, in the Tour Down Under.

The 37-year-old Texan said Wednesday he is not taking a salary from his new team, Astana, and that his purpose in racing was to raise money for his cancer foundation, Livestrong.

Also Thursday, Tour de France officials said that as long as Astana remained free of doping controversies, the team would be invited to participate in the 2009 Tour de France. Last summer, Tour officials refused entry to Astana because of doping problems in 2007.

-- Diane Pucin

GOLF

Kim takes four-shot lead at Tour Championship

Four days after Anthony Kim humbled Sergio Garcia in the Ryder Cup, he beat 29 players just as badly at the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Kim fired off eight birdies on his way to a six-under 64 in his Tour Championship debut to build a four-shot lead over Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

Only one other golfer broke par: K.J. Choi with a one-under 69.

Vijay Singh only has to complete all four rounds to capture the FedEx Cup, and that might have been the best part of his opening round -- he finished. But he started poorly, five over through 11 holes, before settling for a 73.

Kenny Perry, the Kentucky hero from the Ryder Cup, opened with a 76.

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Jill McGill, Jane Park and Jeong Jang shot seven-under 65s for a share of the Navistar LPGA Classic lead at Prattville, Ala., and top-ranked Lorena Ochoa was two strokes back.

RUNNING

McCourt completes deal to buy L.A. Marathon

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt completed a deal to acquire operating rights to the Los Angeles Marathon, ending an often-troubled chapter of the annual race that is scheduled to run its 24th edition on Feb. 16, 2009.

Financial terms of the transaction were not released, but McCourt's newly created Going The Distance operating company has begun the process of taking over registration and race preparations for the upcoming marathon.

-- Greg Johnson

PRO FOOTBALL

Patriots' Brown retires after 15 seasons

Troy Brown retired after 15 seasons with the New England Patriots in which he set a team record for most receptions.

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The San Francisco 49ers will retire Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young's No. 8 jersey in a halftime ceremony during their game against New England on Oct. 5.

PRO BASKETBALL

Houston plans another comeback with Knicks

Allan Houston signed with the New York Knicks and will attempt another comeback with his former team. Forced to retire in October 2005 because of knee pain, Houston briefly tried a comeback last year with the Knicks. He played in only one exhibition game before ending his bid to make the team.

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The Houston Rockets matched the Charlotte Bobcats' three-year, $9-million offer sheet for restricted free agent Carl Landry, keeping the forward in Houston.

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Swingman Francisco Garcia agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension with the Sacramento Kings.

MISCELLANY

Board revokes jockey Valenzuela's license

The California Horse Racing Board said that it has adopted the recommendations of an administrative judge to revoke the license of jockey Patrick Valenzuela, barring him from riding in California and making him "permanently ineligible to reapply for, or to hold, a license issued by the CHRB." The CHRB terminated Valenzuela's conditional riding license in December after an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

-- Eric Sondheimer

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Compton Dominguez High will have to play all varsity boys' basketball playoff games away from its campus this school year, after Thursday's vote by the CIF Southern Section executive committee to uphold a prior postseason home ban against the Dons that came after Dominguez officials failed to deliver gate revenues from basketball playoff games to section officials in a timely manner.

-- Lance Pugmire

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UEFA has agreed to expand soccer's European Championship to 24 teams starting in 2016.

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