Lance Armstrong Records First Ironman 70.3 Victory In Florida Since Return
It is no surprise that Lance Armstrong used the bike to his advantage at the Ironman 70.3 Florida. Pedaling away from the lead group and never looking back, Armstrong captured his first victory at the 70.3 distance since his triumphant return to the sport of triathlon earlier this year. Topping his second place finish at Ironman 70.3 Panama, Armstrong blew away the competition in Florida, winning by a measure of over 11 minutes.
Armstrong came out of the water with the lead pack, recording the fourth quickest swim of the day (24:52). From there, the rest of the field didn’t stand a chance. The seven-time Tour de France champion put his cycling skills on display, throwing down the fastest bike section of the day (2:01:13). The true test would come during the run. Armstrong has been criticized a bit as of late for his running, when he fell off of the lead pack during the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas in April, ultimately finishing seventh. Obviously making it a priority, Armstrong has improved on his running efforts with every event since. In fact, he completed the quickest half marathon of the day, running the 13.1-mile course in 1:15:56. The second place finisher, Maxim Kriat of the Ukraine crossed the finish line over 11 minutes behind Armstrong, while third place finisher Francesc Godoy of Spain finished more than 14 minutes behind the leader.
“It feels good,” Armstrong said. “I can’t lie that I didn’t want to come back to the sport and win some races.”
The forty-year-old Texas native is catching the eye of some of the world’s greatest triathletes on his road to the Ironman World Championships in Kona this fall. Craig Alexander, the defending World Champion chimed in on Armstrong’s success.
“He’s the man you’ll have to beat in Hawaii to win it,” Alexander said. “He’s one of the best cyclists in history, he was a triathlete before, he knows the demands of the sport, and he was a swimmer all through high school. He has a house in Kona (Hawaii), he trains on the course, he has the resources, he is going to be competitive. Anyone who thinks he’s not is kidding themselves.”
Armstrong’s impressive performance in Florida is a testament to his hard work and determination as he makes his way to Kona in October. Congratulations to Lance and best of luck the rest of the way!
Ironman 70.3 Florida
Haines City, Fla. – May 20, 2012
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Lance Armstrong (USA) 3:45:38
2. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 3:56:56
3. Francesco Goday (ESP) 3:59:45
4. Andres Castillo (COL) 4:01:08
5. Mauro Cavanha (BRA) 4:02:04