Lance Armstrong is not banned from the sport altogether and may have alternative racing options.
After it was revealed that the former cycling star faces sanction from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) announced it would not let Armstrong compete in any Ironman events because of rules that “dictate an athlete is ineligible to compete during an open investigation.”
Although Armstrong’s goal of qualifying for October’s Ironman World Championship seems to be on hold, he may have other options. In a statement to Triathlete.com USA Triathlon says that it will allow Armstrong to race at USAT-sanctioned events.
“Lance Armstrong is currently still eligible to compete in all USA Triathlon-sanctioned races, with the exception of Ironman events as stated earlier by the World Triathlon Corporation,” said Chuck Menke, USA Triathlon’s marketing and communications director.
While the WTC does own and operate a large percentage of triathlons in the United States with prize purses, there are other races that Armstrong could choose to jump into.
It is up to each race and race series if they are willing to let Armstrong make the start. One option could be for Armstrong to return to off-road triathlon in the Xterra race series. He finished fifth at the Xterra U.S. Championship and 23rd at the Xterra World Championship last fall. Other non-WTC options include the Life Time Fitness Triathlon series (made up of Olympic-distance races), the Revolution3 Triathon series (which focuses on more long-distance races) and a variety of individual races across the country. It should be noted that we have no confirmation from any race or series of if they would be willing to let Armstrong race.
The USAT announcement of course only applies to races in the United States. It’s unknown at this point if international race series, such as the Challenge Series, would be willing to let Armstrong make the start.
While it appears that Armstrong may have racing options, none of these other events will help him qualify or earn points toward his goal of racing in Kona in October.
– Lance Armstrong’s Return To Triathlon: A Timeline
– Triathlon Community Reacts To Lance Armstrong News
– Triathlete.com Poll: Lance Armstrong Ineligible To Compete
– Lance Armstrong Faces Doping Charges From USADA