Fueled by a strong bike ride, Lance Armstrong dominated the field to win the Ironman 70.3 Florida Sunday morning, his first race win since returning to the sport of triathlon earlier this year.
Armstrong, the pre-race favorite, was fourth out of the water, finishing the 1.2-mile swim in 24:52, but then quickly made up the 32-second deficit to fellow American David Kahn on the bike. The seven-time Tour de France winner crushed the bike course, completing the 56-mile ride in a race-best 2:01:13. By mile 38 he had already built a six-minute lead and by the time he got back into transition, Armstrong had more than a 10 minute lead on the nearest competitor.
In his previous races, the run is where Armstrong has blown up, usually cracking around mile 8 or 9 -- he blamed this on not being able to get his nutriton right -- but that wasn't the case Sunday. Clearly Armstrong figured out when and what to eat because he cruised through the 13.1-mile run in a race-best 1:15:56. He crossed the finish line in 3:45:38, more than 11 minutes ahead of the runner-up, Ukraine's Maxim Kriat. Francesc Godoy (Spain) finished third (3:59:45).
"It feels good. I can't lie that I didn't want to come back to the sport and win some races," Armstrong told the Orlando Centinel.
It was Armstrong's fourth race of the season and his first win. He finished second at Ironman 70.3 Panama, seventh at Ironman 70.3 Texas and more recently, third at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix.
Helluva day here at #IM703FL. I felt pretty good I must say. Think I finally figured out the nutrition component which has been dogging me.— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) May 20, 2012
Indeed, as he tweeted after the race, nutrition has been his Achilles heel so far in triathlon, typically catching up to Armstrong in the final miles of the run. Additionally, he has struggled to find the right balance between building a gap on the bike while saving his legs for the run, but that wasn't an issue Sunday in Florida.
The win gives Armstrong 500 points in the Kona Pro Ranking total as he tries to qualify for the World Championship. Next up for Armstrong is Ironman 70.3 Hawaii on June 2.
Ironman 70.3 Florida Results
1. Lance Armstrong (USA) 3:45:38
2. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 3:56:56
3. Francesc Godoy (ESP) 3:59:45
4. Andres Castillo (COL) 4:01:08
5. Mauro Cavanha (BRA) 4:02:04
6. David Kahn (USA) 4:06:36
7. Chris Bagg (USA) 4:07:01
8. Andrew Langfield (USA) 4:07:55
9. Andrew Hodges (USA) 4:08:53
10. Fabian Rahn (GER) 4:09:58
1. Jessica Jacobs (USA) 4:24:34
2. Jennifer Tetrick (USA) 4:26:09
3. Amanda Stevens (USA) 4:28:19
4. Nina Kraft (GER) 4:28:43
5. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 4:31:14
6. terra Castro (USA) 4:39:39
7. Cassie McWilliam (USA) 4:41:20
8. Jolene Wilkinson (USA) 4:41:27
9. Paolina Allan (CAN) 4:44:19
10. Danielle Ohlson (USA) 4:44:22