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FEDS GO AFTER ARMSTRONG

CYCLING

LOS ANGELES - U.S. investigators have made a request to French officials, trying to collect evidence in a drug case against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

In France, officials received a request last month for help gathering evidence about the cyclist and other members of his former U.S. Postal team.

The move indicates federal authorities are looking to bolster their case against Armstrong so they can give a grand jury in Los Angeles the fullest account possible of the cyclist's actions before deciding whether Armstrong, like former major-leaguer Barry Bonds, also should face criminal charges related to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Mark Fabiani, counsel to Armstrong, criticized investigators for leaking "self-serving information."

"This inquiry has been going on for a year now, and the only result has been an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars and diversion of prosecutorial resources," Fabiani said.

SAD RIDE: Wouter Weylandt's teammates crossed the finish line side by side with arms linked Tuesday at the Giro d'Italia, honoring the Belgian rider killed in a crash a day earlier. After a somber day of ceremonial riding in Italy, Weylandt's Leopard-Trek team withdrew from the race.

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SOCCER

British claim fraud over World Cup bids

The sport's governing body faces new corruption allegations as six FIFA executive committee members were accused of receiving or demanding bribes during bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were allegedly paid $1.5 million to vote for Qatar, according to evidence submitted to a British parliamentary inquiry by the Sunday Times newspaper. The Gulf nation beat the United States the final round of voting for the 2022 event. Qatar's federation denied the "serious and baseless" allegations. David Triesman, former head of England's 2018 bid, told the House of Commons committee that the conduct of executive committee members Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudiwas "improper and unethical."

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NFL

Vikings aim for new home in suburbs

The Vikings announced a deal with Ramsey County to collaborate on a $1.1 billion retractable-roof stadium about 10 miles north of the Metrodome. Still in question is the public part of the funding - a proposed $300 million from the state plus another $100 million in transportation improvements. The legislature is balking at those figures.

CARDINALS: Guard Alan Faneca, 34, an eight-time All-Pro who spent most of his career with the Steelers and Jets, retired.

JURISPRUDENCE: Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, accused of groping a waitress at a bar, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse. ... Former Raider Anthony Wayne Smith pleaded not guilty to murder in the 2008 death of a man in Los Angeles County.

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ET CETERA

TENNIS: Venus Williams pulled out of next week's Brussels Open, a warmup for this month's French Open. Also, David Nalbandian (illness) will miss the French.

HORSES: Jockey Michael Baze, 24, was found dead in his vehicle at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. He rode Kentucky Derby runnerup Nehro to his only win, Feb. 21 at Oaklawn. Police said there were no signs of foul play. Baze is a cousin of Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze and the son of retired jockey Mike Baze.

FIGURE SKATING: Ryan Bradley, who won his first U.S. title five months ago, retired at age 27.

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