Lance Armstrong’s return to triathlon, the sport in which he competed before launching his cycling career, has been postponed as a result of a knee injury, with the seven-time Tour de France winner pulling out of an event in New Zealand next month.
The Texan had been due to take part in the race at the Blue Lake Multisport Festival in Rotorua, which takes place on 29 and 30 January, shortly after competing with his RadioShack team at the Tour Down Under.
According to The New York Times, Armstrong says that he is unable to take part in training runs as a result of his knee, but the condition does not affect his cycling, meaning that he is still scheduled to take part in the Tour Down Under, which is likely to be his final race outside the United States.
Armstrong broke the news on a separate Twitter account he maintains for his triathlon activities under the name Juan Pelota, the name of the coffee shop at his Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in Austin (and itself a play on words, with ‘Juan’ (one) and ‘Pelota’ (ball), a reference to one of the permanent effects of his cancer treatment.
In the message, the 39-year-old said: “Unfortunately can't make the tri in Rotorua. Dealing (again) with some knee issues and unable to run for now.”
Armstrong’s management have formally told the event organisers that he will not now be participating in the triathlon, but they remain hopeful that the event will be a success.
Organiser Charlotte Pearson told New Zealand’s Sun Live website: “The 2011 Blue Lake Multisport Festival was always going to be special as we celebrate our 25th anniversary – that special factor was always going to be there, with or without Lance Armstrong.”
"This has always been one of the hidden gems of the annual triathlon calendar, loved by everyone who has ever been involved. It is run by volunteers with a love for the sport and who want to put on events for their local community. This philosophy certainly hasn’t changed.
"Now more than ever, our commitment remains to ensuring that everyone has some great races and a good time," she added.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.