American Chris Lieto has announced he will not defend his U.S. national championship title at next weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston, Texas. The race has attracted a top-notch field, with the start list including Lance Armstrong, Michael Raelert and Tim O’Donnell.
See the complete announcement from Chris Lieto’s team below:
With the U.S. National Championship Texas Ironman 70.3 a week away, Chris Lieto, the defending champion, has announced his decision to sit out of the race. After much discussion with his coach, Matt Dixon of purplepatch fitness, Chris decided to make the tough decision to miss the event to protect his health and chances of a solid season. Lieto said; “I am extremely disappointed to have to make this decision as I was looking forward to racing a stellar field and defend my title. For the last year or so I have been managing some lower leg issues that have limited the amount of uninterrupted run training I have been able to perform. Recent treatments have provided great insight into the origin of the injury, and have allowed massive progress to be made, but racing now would only set back the good progress we have made.”
Chris still plans on making the trip to Texas to support the Ironman 70.3 event, sponsor obligations, which includes the unveil of his “My After” Chocolate Milk campaign, and to support the participants, but also his More than Sport charity; ‘I will still be on site to watch and cheer on all the competitors that will be out there giving their all, and I look forward to seeing you at the expo and on race day. I hope that many of the volunteers and participants check out the More than Sport Texas initiative.
Matt Dixon sees this early season sacrifice a tough, but smart, decision when viewing Chris’s season as a whole; “Chris has dealt with lower leg issues for almost a year and there becomes a point that it is critical to stop trying to manage around the problem and actually fix it. By taking a step back and focusing on recuperation, he can still begin a full season in May and evolve to get back to consistent running and triathlon training. With his largest goals toward the latter part of the year it is the best decision for him”.