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There’s no arguing Lance Armstrong’s first road triathlon in more than 20 years was a success, but what we didn’t realize was that Armstrong’s second-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Panama came despite a slight detour on the bike course. After crossing the Bridge of the Americas on the return trip, Chris Lieto and Lance Armstrong approached a “Y” in the road. The lead car was too far ahead (with leader Bertrand Billard, who later dropped out on the run) to be of any help. Lieto followed the course to the left, and Armstrong went to the right, in an open lane next to two lanes of backed-up traffic. Lieto sat up, as if he wasn’t sure which was the right way to go, or to wait for Armstrong. Rather than backtracking 100 feet or so, Armstrong used his recent off-road triathlon experience to cut across the median, riding over grass and dirt before hopping up the asphalt “curb” and back onto the course. He caught back on and rallied through the downtown area with Lieto. This wild incident was just one of many challenges Armstrong faced during his re-introduction to triathlon in Latin America.
Check out the Triathlete.com-exclusive video of Armstrong getting back on course. Video courtesy of Brandon Sawaya.