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Knoblock riding strong at 79
Lance Armstrong retired from bicycle racing in July at age 33 after winning his seventh consecutive Tour de France. But cyclist George Knoblock of Perry already is looking forward to his next competition.

The 79-year-old athlete finished third on Dec. 8 in the 20K road race at the 14th Annual Florida Senior Games State Championships at The Villages, a retirement community northwest of Orlando. Despite a cold persistent rain, 20-mph winds and slippery roads, Knoblock took the bronze medal in the 75-79 age group. Two days earlier, he captured a pair of sixth places in the 5K and 10K time trials as the oldest participant in his age class.

Next year Knoblock will be the youngster among 80-84-year-old racers and will have an edge.

"I like the competition and hope some good riders are there to challenge me. It's critical that an older person be active," he said.

Seniors wanting to compete in the state championships must qualify in a preliminary event from a series of 15 senior games held around Florida throughout the year. Knoblock's first chance at a 2006 victory will be at the Kissimmee-St. Cloud Senior Games on Jan. 21-28.

Knoblock has been cycling for more than 20 years and took up the sport as cross training for running, where he excels in the 1500-meter (silver medal at senior games) and 800-meter events.. Capital City Cyclists

Jon Sewell, the co-founder of the Atomic Race Team and newly elected president of the Capital City Cyclists, spearheaded a fundraising drive that netted more than $3,000 to purchase bicycles for disadvantaged children. The 60 new bikes were distributed through the Christmas Connection. The Atomic Race team helped in the effort, and bike riders from both cycling organizations pitched in to assemble and repair bicycles at the Christmas Connection's site on Tharpe Street.

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