After Lance Armstrong’s official retirement from cycling—or “Retirement 2.0” as he’s dubbed it—the triathlon community may wonder: does this mean he’s dedicating himself to being a triathlete?
In a statement earlier today, Armstrong didn’t mention triathlon as a reason for leaving the sport of cycling: “Today, I am announcing my retirement from professional cycling in order to devote myself full-time to my family, to the fight against cancer and to leading the foundation I established before I won my first Tour de France.”
But as evidenced by his @JuanPelota Twitter account, Armstrong is definitely swim-bike-run training, mentioning getting “schooled in the water” and going for an “easy run on town lake then a swim with the fellas” within the last couple of weeks. In January, he even posted a video of a swim on the Ironman Hawaii course.
Armstrong planned to race a January triathlon in New Zealand, but ended up dropping out due to a knee injury. “Unfortunately can’t make the tri in Rotorua,” he said via Twitter. “Dealing (again) with some knee issues and unable to run for now.”
Given that he started his athletic career as a triathlete in the ‘80s, this could be Armstrong’s opportunity to get back to his roots. His longtime coach and friend Chris Carmichael has said that Armstrong would go after the Ironman World Championship after retiring from cycling.
Triathlon hasn’t garnered much notice from outside the sport in the past. But with such a high-profile athlete racing—especially if he makes it to the world championship—triathlon could get a lot more media attention in 2011. And more media attention could generate more interest in the sport.
Right now, there’s lots of speculation about whether or not Armstrong’s knee will allow him to race this year, where he’ll race and how he’d finish. But it seems he’s going into it with a cautious attitude. “I’d like to give it a go,” Armstrong told VeloNews in mid-2010. “I don’t know how fast I can go, but I’d like to give it a try.”