Although this Tour de France will be his last, Lance Armstrong isn’t finished with elite-level racing just yet. The seven-time Tour champion is planning another comeback next year — in triathlon.
A teenage Armstrong got his start in the swim-bike-run sport and quickly found success. He isn’t deluded about his chances against the world’s best triathletes for next year, but he does plan to do some Ironmans and perhaps even the world championships in Kona.
The plan is to race triathlon under the RadioShack banner.
“I’ll do some halves, too,” Armstrong told VeloNews late last year, referring to the half-Ironman distance of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. “But at my age, I can’t go back to Olympic distance [1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run]. Those guys are running 32s. They run fast. And it’s draft-legal in a lot of them. Between wetsuits, draft legal — it’s just a 10K. I need to focus on the longer distances and focus on the races that have tough bike courses.”
Armstrong said he was still considering doing some bike racing next year, too.
On the eve of the Tour de France, Armstrong’s manager Mark Higgins said Armstrong had not yet made specific plans for triathlon races.
“The rough idea is that in 2011 I do a little bit of both,” Armstrong told VeloNews late last year. “No triathlons in 2010. We’re going to try to win the Tour. To do that, you have to be totally focused on that. In 2011, you could still do Tour Down Under, California. I wouldn’t want to go back and do the classics or Paris-Nice. We could go do Cape Epic in South Africa. The idea is to take the sport, or take your story around the world to different places, and still do the tri’s. You can’t do the three-week races because then you can’t run, and you don’t want to miss three weeks of running. I’ve put some thought into this.”
“I’d like to give it a go,” Armstrong said. “I don’t know how fast I can go, but I’d like to give it a try.”
Armstrong said Ironman France — which is in Nice on roads he’s well familiar with — could be a target in June.
“In 2011, we’ll ride the road, we’ll ride the dirt, and we’ll do some tri’s,” Armstrong said. “And we might do a marathon, too. What the hell?”
Courtesy Ben Delaney