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Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso could return next week

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ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Lindsey Vonn could make her World Cup return in Austria next week, two months after undergoing surgery on a broken arm.

The Alpine director of the U.S. ski team, Patrick Riml, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Vonn had resumed ski training in Colorado this week and that she planned to travel to Europe at the weekend.

“She had a couple of free runs yesterday,” Riml said. “Her coach Chris (Knight) is on the way to Colorado. They are planning on free skiing today and then decide on what’s possible, on what makes sense.”

A downhill and a combined event are scheduled for Altenmarkt-Zauchensee on Jan. 14-15, with more speed races coming up in Germany and Italy ahead of the Feb. 6-19 world championships in Switzerland.

“Maybe she needs more training, maybe she feels confident,” Riml said. “We are hoping that she comes back rather sooner than later, maybe it’s Altenmarkt, maybe it’s Garmisch, maybe it’s Cortina. It all depends on how things are going the next couple of days.”

The four-time overall champion, who broke her right arm in a crash while training in Colorado in November, hasn’t raced since fracturing her left knee during a super-G crash in Andorra in February 2016.

The knee injury hampered her preparation for the new season, and Vonn decided to sit out the opening giant slalom race in Austria in October in order to focus on speed races in Canada late November.

However, the training crash on Nov. 11 prevented her from competing again.

Speaking the day before a men’s World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Riml said: “Her time on snow in the whole prep period was very limited. We just have to see how her hand is feeling, how her whole body is feeling the next couple of days and then make the decision when it is the right time for her to come back.”

Another American standout, Julia Mancuso, was also planning her return to World Cup racing in January, probably in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, after sitting out last season following hip surgery.

Riml said Mancuso, a winner of nine medals at major championships, was set to join the American speed team for training sessions on the Turracher Hoehe pass in Austria this week.

“Then we’ll have to see how she is feeling. She didn’t have too many days on speed skis,” Riml said. “She’s going into the training runs in Zauchensee, and then we’ll decide whether it makes sense for her to compete or not.”

MORE: 17 Olympic sports events to watch in 2017

Does Lance Armstrong believe doping contributed to cancer?

Lance Armstrong
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Lance Armstrong said on Sunday’s ESPN film “Lance” that he didn’t know whether he got testicular cancer because of his doping in the early-to-mid 1990s.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “And I don’t want to say no because I don’t think that’s right, either. I don’t know if it’s yes or no, but I certainly wouldn’t say no. The only thing I will tell you is the only time in my life that I ever did growth hormone was the 1996 season [before being diagnosed with moderate to advanced cancer in October 1996]. So just in my head, I’m like ‘growth, growing, hormones and cells.’ Like, if anything good needs to be grown, it does. But wouldn’t it also make sense that if anything bad is there, that it, too, would grow?”

Armstrong was asked a similar question by Oprah Winfrey in his January 2013 doping confession.

“Do you think that banned substances contributed to you getting cancer?” Winfrey asked.

“I don’t think so,” Armstrong said then. “I’m not a doctor, I’ve never had a doctor tell me that or suggest that to me personally, but I don’t believe so.”

That was not the first time doping and cancer were part of the same conversation.

Teammate Frankie Andreu and then-fiancee Betsy said that Armstrong told a doctor on Oct. 27, 1996, at Indiana University Hospital that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs; EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.

Armstrong said he probably began doping at age 21, in 1992 or 1993.

“I remember when we were on a training ride in 2002, Lance told me that [Michele] Ferrari [the infamous doctor who provided performance-enhancing drugs] had been paranoid that he had helped cause the cancer and became more conservative after that,” former teammate Floyd Landis said in 2011, according to Sports Illustrated.

TIMELINE: Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall

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Cortina requests to postpone Alpine skiing worlds from 2021 to 2022

Alpine Skiing World Championships
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The Italian Winter Sports Federation was making a formal request on Monday to postpone next year’s world Alpine skiing championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022.

Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malagò revealed the plans during an interview with RAI state TV on Sunday night.

Considering the fallout in Italy from the coronavirus pandemic, Malagò said “this is the best solution” in order to avoid the championships being canceled or shortened.

“It’s a decision in which we both lose but we realize this is the best — or maybe the only thing — to do,” Malago said.

The Italian federation confirmed that the proposal would be presented during an International Ski Federation (FIS) board meeting Monday. The Italian federation added that the decision to make the proposal was made jointly by the organizing committee in Cortina, the Veneto region and the Italian government.

It will be up to FIS to decide on any postponement.

Cortina was already forced to cancel the World Cup Finals in March this year due to the advancing virus, which has now accounted for more than 30,000 deaths in Italy.

Moving the worlds to March 2022 would put the event one month after the Beijing Olympics and likely force FIS to cancel that season’s finals in Méribel and Courchevel, France.

The Cortina worlds are currently scheduled for Feb. 7-21, 2021.

Worlds are usually held every other winter, in odd years.

Cortina is also slated to host Alpine events during the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.

MORE: Anna Veith retires, leaves Austrian Alpine skiing in unfamiliar territory

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