Cycling legend Lance Armstrong, proved why he is a legend yesterday by winning the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in a record time overcoming freezing rain, a puncture and Leadville legend and six time defending champion, Dave Wiens in the process.
Armstrong knocked almost 17 minutes off the course record, set by Wiens last year, coming back in a time of 6:28:50, Wiens the second man home came back in 6:57:01– last year he set a record time of 6:45:45 on his way to beating Armstrong a race that helped seal the Texan's decision to return to the pro scene.
Afterwards Wien wasn't too disappointed, as he told the Associated Press:
"He's Lance Armstrong. And he's just off of the Tour," Wiens said. "Last year he was just off of the couch. That made it a pretty fair fight for he and I. This year I rode fantastic today. I'm happy.
"He killed it. He got away from Ben Sonntag and time trialed it for 65 miles."
After 35 miles Armstrong simply rode away from the rest of the 1400 strong field and the small group of pros at its head to take on the rest of the Rocky Mountain course alone – he was out on his own for the final 65 miles. At the turnaround point, the Columbine climb, he already had a six minute lead on Wiens who he passed on the way up.
Speaking after the race Armstrong said that his only decision at this point was whether to wait for Wiens or to ride the whole way back on his own. The cold made him decide to press on alone as it turned out a wise decision because he punctured 17 miles from the finish. Armstrong by his own admission isn't good at fixing flats so he simply shoved some more air in and hoped the tyre sealant would do its job, by the last mile or so the tyre was completely flat.
Armstrong says he will be back to defend his Leadville title next year, but Wiens at 44, seven years older than Armstrong said that he might just call it a day.
To find out more about the race and to see the results check out the Leadville 100 website www.leadvilletrail100.com/
His victory at Leadville signalled the start of a busy week for Armstrong who now heads across the Atlantic to take part in the Tour of Ireland starting on Friday and to host Livestrong Global Cancer Summit at Dublin Castle. starting next Monday, August 24 which will be attended by cancer experts from around the world. On the way he's stopping off in Glasgow to catch a U2 concert and nip out for a ride with local cyclists.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.