Interesting question, especially of a 7-time Tour de France Winner: Should Lance not have ridden so fast at Ironman 70.3 Texas?
Could it be that Lance made the classic triathlon rookie mistake at Ironman Texas 70.3: rode too hard on the 56 Mile bike course, and suffered as a result on the 13.1 mile run?
It's quite possible, considering the splits from his 7th place race in Texas compared to those in his 2nd place finish in Panama: 5 minutes faster on the bike, 5 minutes slower -- suffering to the point of walking near the end -- on the run.
Lance Armstrong at 2012 Ironman 70.3 Texas
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.
However, Lance was not without competition on the bike course. Stephane Poulet and Sebastian Kienle rode lap 2 at 29.12 mph, 10+ minutes faster than lap 1, and finished within 16 seconds of Lance. And Sebastian Kienle turned in a faster overall bike split than Lance: 2:03:43, 27.16 mph.
Lance began the 13.1 mile run with an 11 second lead over Stephane Poulat, but after only 3 minutes on the run, Poulat had passed Lance. After 11 minutes on the run, Sebastian Kiene had also passed Lance, completely erasing his 1:30 deficit leaving T1; Poulat remained in the lead. At the 4.6 mile timing mat Lance caught Poulet, but still trailed Kienle by 38 seconds.
After 30 minutes on the run, Timothy O'Donnell had passed Lance, and was gaining ground on race leader Kienle. At the 7.2 mile timing mat, Lance's running pace has slowed dramatically.
By mile 9, on-site race observers suggested that Lance couldn't catch Kienle or O'Donnell but might hold onto 3rd place. Just then, Michael Raelert, who was seen walking earlier, has leapt back into the race, passing Armstrong.
The race for victory was exciting; approaching the 1-mile to go mark, Keinle and O'Donnell were trying to outpace the other, surging and countering to remain together. At the last turnaround, O'Donnell broke free from Kienle, and took the win by 10 seconds.
At the same time, Lance Armstrong was reportedly walking; course observers noted he must start running if he wanted to hold onto 5th place. Finishing the last 1.5 miles at an 8:33/mile pace, Lance had all but given up, ceding not only 5th place, but getting beaten at the line by Jordon Jones, who took 6th place.
So, back to the original question: should Lance not have ridden so fast at Ironman 70.3 Texas?
How do you tell the fastest rider in the world to slow down? Somebody may have to, if he wants to win at triathlon.
For more, see Lance Armstrong Ironman Triathlon Race Results, Lance Armstrong Ironman Panama Results Analysis, RunTri's Top 40 Toughest/Easiest Half Ironman Rankings, and our Home Page for everything else.