Armstrong expresses doubts about 2009 Tour



Lance Armstrong has expressed doubts about racing in next year's Tour de France. The American, who agreed Monday to ride in next year's Giro d'Italia, said in an interview published yesterday that he might not go for an eighth Tour de France title after all. "Everyone knows its importance, but the problems that I have with the organizers, journalists and fans could distract me from my mission - focusing the world's attention on the battle against cancer," Armstrong said in Gazzetta dello Sport. Armstrong, 37, announced last month that he is returning to cycling after three years in retirement, and he wants to draw more attention to his global campaign to fight cancer, a disease he survived before winning seven straight Tours.

Investigator: Prospect had heart problems



Alexei Cherepanov had heart problems and probably should not have been allowed to play in a game in which he collapsed and died, a regional investigator suggested. Yulia Zhukova said Cherepanov, who died Monday playing for Avangard Omsk in a Continental Hockey League game outside Moscow, apparently had chronic ischemia - a medical condition in which not enough blood gets to the heart or other organs. Cherepanov's agent, however, said NHL tests showed him to be healthy. Lawmaker Pavel Krasheninnikov suggested that the first-round draft pick, 19, for the New York Rangers might have died because of negligence on the part of paramedics. Krasheninnikov said there was no ambulance on duty at the Moscow-region arena in which Cherepanov was playing. Vladimir Shalayev, the managing director for the newly formed Russian league, said a preliminary autopsy showed Cherepanov had a "hypertrophied heart."

Sabres: : Forward Jochen Hecht will miss at least two weeks after having surgery to repair an injured finger.

Islanders: : Defenseman Radek Martinek will be out four to six weeks because of an upper-body injury suffered during a game last weekend.

Red Sox's Lowell to have hip surgery, done for year


Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell is done for the year because of a bad hip. The Most Valuable Player from last year's World Series will have surgery Monday. He was left off Boston's roster for the American League Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays because of the problem. Lowell said before Game 4 of the ALCS that he wanted to have surgery soon so he could be ready for the start of spring training.

Canseco: : Jose Canseco was charged in federal court in San Diego with a misdemeanor offense of trying to bring a fertility drug across the border from Mexico. He was charged with introduction into interstate commerce of a misbranded drug, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. A hearing was scheduled for Nov. 4.


Et cetera: : Kevin Foster, who was drafted as an infielder before becoming a pitcher and spending 1994-2001 in the majors mostly with the Phillies and Cubs, has died of cancer. He was 39. ... Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and is expected to be ready for the start of next season. ... The Yankees fired third base coach Bobby Meacham and special pitching instructor Rich Monteleone. ... Tony La Russa's St. Louis coaching staff will remain intact next season.

Timberwolves' Telfair suspended three games


Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Sebastian Telfair was suspended for three games after pleading guilty to criminal possession of a weapon. Telfair was sentenced last month to three years' probation. He was arrested in April 2007 when police found him carrying a loaded gun in his car while he was a member of the Boston Celtics. Telfair had career highs in games started (51), shooting percentage (40) and assists per game (5.9) and averaged 9.3 points last year for Minnesota.

Economy: : NBA commissioner David Stern said the league is positioned well to deal with any fallout from the global economic turmoil after cutting 80 jobs. "On a league-wide basis, we are meeting all our financial goals. We are where we want to be," Stern said.

Nets: : Owner Bruce Ratner said a recent court ruling would delay a project including a new arena in Brooklyn by up to six months, meaning the Nets won't move in until at least 2011.


New York toughens steroid policy for horses

et cetera

New York toughened its steroid policy for racehorses, following the lead of the two other states that hold Triple Crown races. The New York State Racing and Wagering Board said the new rules take effect Jan. 1 at all thoroughbred and standardbred tracks in the state. That includes Belmont Park, home of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown. The new rules set limits for steroids that are permitted - stanozolol, boldenone, nandrolone and testosterone. Prompted by the death of the filly Eight Belles at the end of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky and Maryland moved quickly to institute steroid restrictions.

More horse racing: : Curlin will defend his title in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25, majority owner Jess Jackson announced. Curlin, the 2007 Preakness winner and reigning Horse of the Year, is expected to take on undefeated Casino Drive of Japan.

Track and field: : Federal prosecutors urged a judge to send track coach Trevor Graham to prison for 10 months for lying to sports doping investigators while he pleaded for probation. A jury in May convicted Graham of one count of lying to IRS agents about his connection to an admitted steroid dealer. Graham is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

College football: : Ohio State defensive end Lawrence Wilson will undergo surgery for torn ligaments in his left knee and will miss the rest of this season. ... Miami running back Javarris James is expected to play Saturday against Duke after missing four games with a high left ankle sprain.


Golf: : Padraig Harrington and Jim Furyk shot 2-under-par 68s and were tied for the lead after the first round of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Tucker's Town, Bermuda. ... Jon Corliss, a teaching professional from Virginia Beach, Va., rolled a 13-foot birdie putt into the heart of the cup on the first playoff hole to win the ninth annual Maryland Senior Open at Beechtree Golf Club in Aberdeen. He had tied at 2-under 140 with David Eaton (Severna Park Golf Center) and four-time champion Larry Ringer, head pro at Musket Ridge Golf Club in Myersville.