Cycling Body Clears Armstrong

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The International Cycling Union made an exception to its drug-testing rules for the seven-time Tour de France champion to return to the sport.

Armstrong chose the Jan. 20-25 Tour Down Under to come out of retirement after three years.

A strict application of testing rules would not allow the 37-year-old Texan to compete until Feb. 1, 2009, six months after he filed paperwork with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency .

But the UCI said Wednesday its improved drug-testing standards meant Armstrong could return two weeks early.