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Ironman 70.3 Panama

  • Welcome to Ironman 70.3 Panama, which has suddenly become quite the media show! Unless you've been hiding from the triathlon world for the last few days, you'll be all too aware that Sunday will be the Ironman debut for a certain former pro cyclist. We're going to have a full weekend of coverage here on Ironmanlive, including live athlete tracking, text updates, photos and video clips (sorry, the news came too late for full-fledged video coverage).

    Stay with us here all weekend - we'll be doing updates and posting photos from the race site here in beautiful Panama City, Panama.
  • Guess who's racing in Panama?

  • Strong men’s field in Panama

    To say that the men’s field is stacked here in Panama would be an understatement. Lance Armstrong has picked one heck of an event to get started at. American Chris Lieto, Australian Richie Cunningham, New Zealand’s Matty Reed and Bevan Docherty, Great Britain’s Paul Amey and Denmark’s Ramus Henning make up the nucleus of contenders in Panama City this weekend.

    Lieto is dangerous at this distance if he gets to deploy his potent swim and bike combination. Reed, a 2008 Olympian, exceeds at the short and a middle distance races and should challenge for the win, while Amey showed his potential when the 38-year-old came within two-minutes of winning Ironman Arizona in November, recording one of fastest Ironman finish times on North American soil. Bevan Docherty, a two-time Olympic medalist, is making a rare distance-race appearance and should impact the dynamics of the race. Cunningham, an Ironman 70.3 specialist, is always a threat at this distance, while Henning, also a two-time Olympian is a gifted athlete and has proved dangerous all distances.

    There are a handful of other men that have won at this distance who may present a legitimate challenge for the win. Argentina’s Oscar Galindez and Ezequiel Morales have come up big in international races as well as in South America. Brazil’s Guilherme Manocchio racked up the win recently at Ironman 70.3 Pucon, backing up his surprise second place showing at Ironman Brazil last year. Another Brazilian, Santiago Ascenco, could make the race interesting if he is anywhere close to the lead coming off the bike.

    Others to watch for in the men’s race are American T.J. Tollakson, France’s Romain Guillame and Hungary’s Balazs Csoke.

    Originally from: ironman.com

    Report from Shawn Skene.
  • Women’s race: Another Competitive Field!

    Leanda Cave, from Great Britain should be considered the race favorite this weekend. Despite a shaky start, Cave went on a tear in the latter part of her 2011 race season that saw her chalk up a third place finish in Kona, a win at Rohto Ironman 70.3 Miami and second place finish at the long distance world championships. She then capped off the season with her first Ironman win in Arizona.

    A pair of Ironman’s royalty will on the start line in Panama City. Six-time Ironman World Champion Natascha Badmann, along with Brazil’s Fernanda Keller, will accompany the excellent women’s field gathered in Panama City.

    American Kelly Williamson has a number of 70.3 wins to her credit and recently smacked out a 1:14 in a stand-alone half-marathon and is a genuine prospect for the win. Denmark’s Yvonne van Vlerken had an inconsistent season last year and will be attempting to get the new season on track quickly.

    There are trio of Canadian women who focus on Ironman 70.3 racing and are likely to influence the results in the women’s competition. Multiple Ironman 70.3 winner, Magali Tisseyre rarely finishes off a podium and Angela Naeth finally notched her first Ironman 70.3 win last year after recording countless second place finishes in 70.3 competitions. Tenille Hoogland had a break-through year last year that saw her win her first Ironman 70.3 race. If Hoogland can bring her run up to the same level as her swim and bike prowess, she will be a force to contend with.

    It will be good to see American Dede Griesbauer making her return to racing after recovering from injuries she sustained last August. The two-time Ironman champion was the victim of a bike accident on the rain soaked roads at the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Wiesbaden, Germany, that ended the veteran’s season early.

    Other women contenders watch for on Sunday are Belgium’s Sofie Goos and Tine Deckers

    Originally from: ironman.com

    Thanks to Shawn Skene for this report.
  • RT @lancearmstrong: Easy 4 mile jog with @JimmyRiccitello. Now we're off to @ironmanpanama. Excited to finally visit #panama.
  • Registration was busy here this morning - almost half the field rolled in to pick up their race packets.

  • Welcome to Panama!

  • Ironmanlife: How will Lance Do?

    While there have been cycling professionals who have turned to Ironman before, none have arrived to the sport with the background and potential of Lance Armstrong, who could possibly have been every been as successful as a triathlete as he was as an cyclist.
    Armstrong was a successful age group swimmer long before he got into cycling. He actually started cycling as a way to get to and from swim workouts because his mom, who was raising him by herself, couldn’t get him to those workouts and get to work. Armstrong would cycle 20 miles a day as a 13-year-old to get to his morning and afternoon workouts.

    “I would swim 4,000 meters of laps before school and go back for another two-hour workout in the afternoon-another 6,000 meters,” he wrote in “It’s Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life,” the book he wrote with Sally Jenkins in 2001. “That was six miles a day in the water, plus a 20-mile bike ride.”

    Read more at: ironman.com
  • Special on-location podcast with Kevin Mackinnon and Dave Erickson and an interview with Leanda Cave.

  • Good morning from Panama! We're down at the race site this morning and things are definitely heating up - both figuratively and in terms of the temperature. It's 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 C) right now, on the way up to 93 (34) with the humidity sitting in and around 55%. (Yes, it feels hot and humid!)

    Lance Armstrong is here - he registered for today's race at 9AM, keeping a very low profile. We'll have a chance to see him at this afternoon's pro meeting, where he'll join his fellow pros in getting the final pre-race instructions.
  • Setting up the finish line - less than a day to go!

  • Another Lance sighting: One of our race coordinators managed to score himself a ride with the seven-time Tour de France champ this morning as Armstrong rode along the Amador cauaseway and back to his hotel after he registered this morning.

    "He looks really fit," Mario told us. Yeah, we'd bet on that!
  • Lance Armstrong with some of the race volunteers.

  • Lance Armstrong registers for his first Ironman event!

  • The Ironman World Welcomes Lance Armstrong

    Some reaction to Lance Armstrong competing at Ironman events in 2012

    Dave Orlowski, one of the 12 original Ironman finishing competitors in the first Ironman competition is excited that Armstrong has decided to race Ironman. Orlowski, who finished third at that historic Ironman event on Oahu in 1978, has been coping with cancer himself over the past two years and the LIVESTRONG and Ironman partnership hits close to the home for the 56-year-old retired police detective.

    Read More: Click Here
  • Getting ready for the Pro Panel. We'll be texting live from the Pro Panel here in Panama in the next few minutes.
  • Some Ironman athletes reflect on Lance Armstron's participation in Ironman:

    Dave Orlowski, one of the 12 original Ironman finishing competitors in the first Ironman competition is excited that Armstrong has decided to race Ironman. Orlowski, who finished third at that historic Ironman event on Oahu in 1978, has been coping with cancer himself over the past two years and the LIVESTRONG and Ironman partnership hits close to the home for the 56-year-old retired police detective.
    


    “The LIVESTRONG partnership, and with Armstrong racing Ironman, will show others that cancer is not a death sentence for those who are battling the disease or are in remission doing this event,” explained Orlowski. “This is a statement from the athletes and Lance Armstrong that will be positive and will give others the courage to do something that they may have thought was not possible because of their condition.”

    Wrapping up his thoughts, Orlowski said, “As one of the original 12 finishers from 1978, I continue to be amazed what Ironman has become and what people aspire to do to become Ironman. I wish Lance Armstrong the best of luck in Panama and welcome him to the Ironman family. I hope to see Armstrong qualify for Kona, and the excitement that would bring to the already exciting race.”

    Originally from: ironman.com
  • Chris Lieto at the More Than Sport booth

  • Leanda Cave and Magali Tisseyre

  • The Pro Panel begins:
    "What drew me here was that it is a Latin American Championship. The bike course looks super fun and challenging," says Chris Lieto.
  • Matty Reed:
    First race of the year - it would be great to put in a good performance.
  • Kelly Williamson:
    I like to race at this time of the year. (She's coming off a fast half marathon from a couple of weeks ago.) If you can maintain your fitness in the off season, it isn't hard to get things together quickly.
  • Magali Tisseyre:
    It's better that I'm coming here from California rather than Quebec. I've done one heat-test session, so I think I will be OK. I've raced in these conditions before - the Philippines for example - so hopefully I'll be OK.
  • Dede Griesbauer:
    I fell down on some wet cobblestones during Ironman Germany (European Championship) and broke everything on the left side of my body. My career was uncertain for a while. I was anxious to get going. Good race for me, bad race for me, it's better than sitting in a hospital with broken bones.
  • John Collins:
    We got here on a sailboat here in 1993 and found that Panama today is what Hawaii was like back in the day. We organized a race here in 1998 to show the people here in Panama what distance triathlon was all about.
  • Chris Lieto:
    We got official news that Lance is racing his first half Ironman here. It's great - it brings attention to the sport. It's going to be an honor to be in the field with him and race with him. He is an athlete in the race though, and I'm going to do my best to push him to the limit and to beat him.
  • Leanda Cave:
    Hopefully he'll help bring the sport to a new level.
  • Rasmus Henning:
    In the last few years the pro men have been doing our best not to get chicked by Chrissie. Now we're going to do our best not to get Lanced.
  • Kelly Williamson:
    Last week I got double-Lanced - she's referring to a regular training run that she's been doing with Lance Armstrong. He managed to beat her in that run a few weeks ago.
  • Trivia for tomorrow:
    The Panama canal is 51 miles, tomorrow's bike ride is 56 miles.
  • Leanda Cave predicts tomorrow's men's podium - all the guys on the stage here today

  • Some questions for the men from Leanda Cave:
    What chainring are you using: Rasmus 55, Chris Lieto 54.
    "Your soft," Henning said.
  • "3:50 is what it will take to win here tomorrow," says Richie Cunningham.

    "3:52," says Rasmus Henning.

    "It's going to be crazy fast," says Chris Lieto, who doesn't think you can predict a time because it's the first time this race is happening.
  • Chris Lieto, Rasmus Henning, Richie Cunningham and Matty Reed.

  • Chris Lieto, when asked about his hydration plans: I try to drink as much as I can - literally a sip every two minutes.
  • Ironman founders John and Judy Collins. They have lived here in Panama for almost 20 years now.

  • Rasmus Henning: This is my first trip to Latin America. I hope to get out to see the canal tomorrow afternoon if there's time for it.
  • Richie Cunningham: Laguna Phuket
    Matty Reed: I love racing in general - Escape from Alcatraz, St. Anthony's - I couldn't pick one.
    Rasmus Henning: Hy-Vee - I won it twice
    Chris Lieto: My favorite Ironman is Austria, half-Ironman would be Vineman.
    Dede Griesbauer: Ironman Brazil - the Latin American people and culture are so great.
    Magali Tisseyre: I have to agree about the experience - I had an amazing experience in the Phillippines. I think my new favorite will be Mt. Tremblant, which is 40 minutes from where I'm from.
    Leanda Cave: I love the destination nature of doing racing. One of my favorite races has to be Escape from Alcatraz. In terms of middle distance I'd have to say Wildflower. My favorite Ironman is Arizona.
    Kelly Williamson: Buffalo Springs in Lubbock, Texas. (Everyone laughs!) It's kind of tough, but I love it.
    Judy Collins: the longest running triathlon in the world - the Coronado Optimist Club triathon - it started in 1975. The one down here, Portobello, has it all. It has the history, fish and coral reefs - it can't be beat.
    John Collins: My favorite hasn't happened yet - the Triathlon of Americas - we're looking for sponsors!
  • That wraps up the panel for now - the pros are off to the pro meeting now. We'll have some more updates shortly.
  • Tom Ziebart speaks to the pros at the Saturday pro race meeting

  • Lance Armstrong and Chris Lieto at today's pro panel

  • Lance Armstrong in his first pro triathlon meeting ... for a while!

  • Photos courtesy FinisherPix

  • What a zoo! Lance Armstrong's arrival here at the pro meeting ended up causing quite a stir with the age group athletes, who surrounded the tent here, desperate for their chance to get a photo or to see the cycling champ.

    Right after the meeting he was whisked out of the race site to relax and get ready for tomorrow's race!
  • There was quite a scrum of media and athletes desperate to get a glimpse of Lance Armstrong today.

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