Lance Armstrong Results Analysis at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix

[Note: the bike and run split times were revised by St. Croix's official timers. This post reflects the new numbers.]

By Raymond Britt 

Lance Armstrong, one of the best riders the cycling world has ever seen, has turned to triathlon with aspirations of achieving similar success. In 2012, Lance is competing against the world's best triathletes in 6 major triathlons:
  1. Ironman 70.3 Panama (3:50:55, 2nd place, see recap below; full coverage here)
  2. Ironman 70.3 Texas (3:54:32, 7th place, see recap below; full coverage here)
  3. Ironman 70.3 St. Croix (4:07:08)
  4. Ironman 70.3 Hawaii
  5. Ironman France
  6. Ironman World Championship, Kona Hawaii
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 breaking the course record at St. Croix), holding onto the lead at the start of the run. 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 part of the race. Rather than look at what place he was in at a particular point in the race, this summary views 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.