Lance Armstrong Ironman Triathlon Results Analysis

Lance Armstrong's doping confession: why now? The answer could be: Ironman Triathlon.

There's speculation that Lance wants to resume the ironman triathlon racing career he began in 2012. Starting with his first Ironman 70.3, in Panama last year, Lance raced with and ultimately beat some of the best longer-distance triathletes in the world.

Undoubtedly, he had hoped to compete in the Ironman World Championship, Kona Hawaii in 2012, before he was  suspended from competition following USADA's doping charges.

If Lance earns the chance to compete again in ironman triathlon, could he become world champion? Our analysis of his successful 2012 season suggests the answer could, someday, be 'yes'.

Lance Armstrong Ironman 2012 Results Analysis
  1. Ironman 70.3 Panama (3:50:55, 2nd place)
  2. Ironman 70.3 Texas (3:54:32, 7th place)
  3. Ironman 70.3 St. Croix (4:07:08, 3rd place) (also see our Triathlete Magazine article about Lance's race)
  4. Ironman 70.3 Florida (3:45:38 1st place)
  5. Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (3:50:55, 1st Place)
Also see Lance Armstrong Inspires Ironman Triathletes in 4000+ Worldwide Cities.

Ironman Hawaii 70.3 Results Analysis



Previous Lance Armstrong Ironman Racing Articles: Ironman Florida

In his fourth event of the year, Lance Armstrong overpowered the field at Ironman 70.3 Florida, winning his first major triathlon in a time of 3:45:38. After seeing his lead evaporate on the run in each of three previous attempts, Lance finally put it all together in Florida to crush his nearest competitor, Maxim Kriat, by 11 minutes.

Lance had a good start. His swim of 24:52 put him in the top 4 out of the water.

Lance won the race on the bike. Lance returned to Tour de France time trial form: his 27mph bike split was untouchable. He covered the first 38.5 miles on the bike at a pace of 29mph. He slowed to 25mph on the remaining 17.5 miles of the bike course, to conserve energy for the run. Exiting Transition 2 with a 10 minute lead, Lance never looked back, nor did he slow down.

Lance simply dominated the 13.1 mile run course. He ran the first 4.4 miles at 5:40/mile pace, and only slowed slightly to 5:45/mile for the next 4.4 mile loop. Wrapping up the run in 1:15:56, Armstrong crossed the finish line in 3:45:38, his fastest Ironman 70.3 race, for a richly deserved first victory.

Facing a relatively light field of pro men, it was not completely unexpected that Lance would win. It's also not terribly surprising to see Lance finish the 56-mile bike course a full 10 minutes faster than his closest rival.

What does seem to stand out is his run split. He had been broken on the run in his three previous races, but this time he delivered the fastest run split overall.

Previous Lance Armstrong Ironman Racing Articles
Featured by Trlathlete Magazine

After three events -- Ironman 70.3 Panama and Ironman 70.3 Texas and the just-completed Ironman 70.3 St. Croix -- Lance's results are remarkably consistent: a decent swim, followed by taking over the lead on the bike (and setting a course record at St. Croix), then holding onto the lead at the start of the run. Here's how Lance's results in St. Croix compared to the Top 10 Finishers.

The problem is, in each event, he's lost the lead and the chance at victory by faltering on the run. Lance was known for toughing it out to win brutal stages year after year at Tour de France by outlasting his toughest competition.  As of yet, he's been unable to demonstrate the same unrelenting drive on the half ironman run course; others are making him suffer.

Here's a summary of Lance's finish rank in each specific part of the race: his performance within swim, bike and run, relative to the Top 10 Overall finishers. The pattern is clear: 6th or 7th fastest swimmer, fastest cyclist, 6th or worse runner. No question about it -- he's not going to win until he learns how to win on the run.

In Panama, he had the 6th fastest swim, the 2nd fastest bike split and the 6th fastest run; all three individual performances resulted in 2nd place overall. In Texas, he was 7th out of the water, then hammered the top bike split, then paid for it by running the worst half marathon of the Top 10, finishing 7th overall. And in St. Croix, it wasn't just how Lance ranked relative to other top 10 pros in the swim, bike or run; it was also the remarkably large gap between his time and the swim and run leaders' times.

Where did Lance really lose Ironman 70.3 St. Croix? On the second loop of the half marathon. He was holding his own through the first 6.2 miles, but it all fell apart after that. His 7 minute 40 second gap between the first and second look was the worst of any in the top 10.

And in each discipline -- swim, bike and run -- Lance turned in his slowest times yet.


Ironman 70.3 Panama and Texas Notes

Compare the splits of his 2nd place finish at Ironman 70.3 Panama with the splits of his 7th place finish at Ironman 70.3 Texas.

Below are recaps of Lance's races at Panama and Texas. Click the appropriate links to see our complete analysis of Lance's performance at each event.

Ironman 70.3 Texas Recap

Lance Armstrong started Ironman 70.3 Texas with a decent swim (15th place), took it easy on the first 28 miles of the bike course (25mph) before unloading a 28mph second lap to take the lead heading into the run course. The lead was short-lived, and from there, things only got worse: suffering to the point of walking the late stages of the run, he settled for a disappointing 7th place overall.

One look at Lance's run time, compared to the rest of the top 10 finishers, tells the story. At 1:22:38, he ran 1:30 slower than the next slowest runner, and he was a full 8 minutes slower than Timothy O'Donnell, the race winner.

For more see our complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's race at Ironman 70.3 Texas.

Ironman 70.3 Panama Recap

Lance Armstrong finished second in his debut half Ironman race, coming within 42 seconds of victory.  For most of the 13.1 mile run course, it looked like Lance would win, but Olympic triathlon medal winner Bevan Docherty caught Armstrong in the last mile, in dramatic fashion, to take the win. 

Lance raced very well: he had the 10th fastest swim, 3rd fastest bike split and 8th fastest run.  He had the finish line in sight . . . he was so close . . . could he have won? Could it be Lance lost the race with slow transitions?

For more, see our analysis of Lance's race in detail to see where he might have saved precious seconds needed to win.

Also see: