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.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.