In what was possibly the most anticipated triathlon ‘debut’ (we know it isn’t his first) in the history of the sport Lance Armstrong has shown what an great athlete he is by coming second overall at the Ironman Panama 70.3. We shouldn’t loose sight of the fact that the race was won by ITU triathlon legend, Kiwi Bevan Docherty who we would normally see racing Olympic distance. Third place went to Australia’s Richie Cunningham.
Apologies to Bevan for not leading with ‘Bevan Docherty wins Ironman 70.3 Panama’ but we are sure you understand.
With a prize purse of $75,000 and a whopping 1500 points up for grabs in the 5150 qualifying series this race was always going to attract a top field. It was also the Latin American 70.3 Pro Championship.
(top ten mens and womens finish times and splits below)
On February 8th, Trizone tweeted that it looks like Lance Armstrong will race at the weekend’s 70.3 in Panama. This was before it was announced and based on some tweets from Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack and Juan Pelota (Lance’s twitter alter ego).
Lance Armstrong raced against a stella field of long course triathletes and at 41 proved that he is one of the greatest athletes we have ever seen. He was only 33 seconds down on the lead swimmer out of the water and as you would expect he rode one of the quicker times on the bike. The suggestions from those who know seem to be that he may have held back on the bike to preserve his legs for the run.
At the halfway point on the run Armstrong held a 1:15 lead over the field with Docherty coming through the field. It wasn’t until there was only 1.5kms to go that Docherty finally caught Armstrong to take the lead.
Armstrong’s 1:17 half marathon was very fast and enough to get him to second place.
At the front of the race ITU specialist Docherty showed the field how fast you can run with the right background. his 1:12:50 was the fastest run of the day. There has been a lot of talk over the last year from some of the leading ITU athletes about moving to 70.3 racing. The main reason behind this is that these guys and girls feel that the run times in 70.3 are slower than they should be. Particularly in the female fields. With an increased number of events and prize money in 70.3 it is becoming more attractive to the ITU athletes. Throw in the 5150 series and Hy-Vee and it is very attractive.
Lance Armstrong racing triathlons will no doubt bring long overdue media attention to our sport. In addition the City of Panama will no doubt benefit greatly from having the world’s attention focused on it for the weekend.
Visit the race website for more information
|Van Vlerken, Yvonne||0:22:57||2:36:05||1:25:27||4:29:00|