Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France cycling champion, claimed his second Half Ironman triathlon title in two weeks by breaking the course record on the Kohala Coast in Hawaii by six minutes.
The 70.3-mile (113-kilometer) event two days ago was the fifth triathlon this year for the 40-year-old Armstrong, who is seeking to qualify for the Ironman World Championship after retiring from professional cycling in February 2011.
Armstrong finished in a time of 3 hours, 50 minutes and 55 seconds, more than 2 1/2 minutes ahead of runner-up Greg Bennett to break Chris McCormack’s course record. Armstrong said it was more challenging than his previous Half Ironman in Florida on May 20, a race he won by more than 11 minutes.
“It was harder than I expected,” Armstrong told reporters. “The winds on the bike were one thing, but the run was painful with the ups and downs and the different surfaces.”
Armstrong, who competed as a professional triathlete at age 18 before focusing on cycling, completed the 1.2-mile swim in 23:22, placing him third. He moved into the lead after covering the 56-mile bike ride in 2:01:46 and sealed the win by running 13.1 miles in 1:22:30.
Bennett and Chris Lieto, both Americans, were second and third in 3:53:41 and 4:05:55 respectively.
Armstrong, who won the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, is scheduled to race a 140.6-mile full Ironman event June 24 in Nice, France, in his quest to earn enough points to qualify for the world championship in Hawaii on Oct. 13.
Armstrong finished second in his Ironman debut in Panama in February and was seventh in Galveston, Texas, in April. Last month, he placed third in St. Croix before his Florida win.
“I’m having fun,” Armstrong said. “That tells me I’m doing the right thing. It’s good for a lot of things. I think it’s good for the sport. I think it’s good for the other pros. It’s good for my foundation, it’s good for the other business ventures I have.”
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