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Armstrong tested 12 times already

LANCE Armstrong revealed he has been drug tested at least a dozen times since announcing his plans to make a comeback to professional racing late last year.

The seven-time Tour de France winner said he had already been tested twice since his arrival in Australia last weekend for his first race back Down Under.

Australian anti-doping authorities and the International Cycling Union have pledged to increase testing on riders in the six-day event as part of their efforts to stamp out cheating.

Armstrong had already volunteered to undergo extra testing after launching his own testing program with anti-doping crusader Don Catlin.

"This is the most comprehensive anti-doping plan in the history of sport," Armstrong said. "I'm proud of it, I respect Don, I know that he's the toughest that there is out there. If anyone has any questions about any performance this year, it can hopefully answer some of those questions."

The American retired after winning the 2005 Tour de France but announced he was making a comeback to promote cancer awareness. The 37-year-old said he was feeling almost as fit now as at any stage of his career.

"I've had a little bit more stiffness and soreness, which I suppose is normal for somebody in their upper 30s, but the recovery is good, the power's good," he said.

"I don't want to say I feel the same as in my early 30s but I'm not far off, I feel pretty strong. Mentally my mind is very strong."

Armstrong said he enjoyed his three and a half year break because it allowed him to experience things but he never really stopped training.

"There was a lot of stuff that I was able to do that I wasn't able to do in the previous 15 years, just simple things like not worrying about what you eat all the time," he said. "I could go to a restaurant and order whatever I want and have a glass of wine and say I'll have another glass and another. They were the kind of things I couldn't do for 20 years of my life so I was able to have fun with, but I still maintained an exercise schedule. It wasn't serious but I still broke a sweat every day."


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