Armstrong aims for Ironman

Updated: January 15, 2010, 1:00 AM ET
Associated Press

ADELAIDE, Australia -- After returning to top-level cycling, Lance Armstrong has set himself a new challenge by saying he intends to compete in the Hawaii Ironman.

The 38-year-old Armstrong was targeting the 2011 or 2012 event in Kona, Hawaii, depending upon whether this year or next will be his final Tour de France.

"I will be in Kona 15 months after the final Tour," Armstrong told Australian Associated Press on Friday. "If it's 2010, then it will be Kona 2011. If it's 2011, it will be Kona 2012.

"I'm not saying that with any expectation, it will require months and months of getting back into swimming and running. But I want to just do it, just for fun."

Armstrong said he started out competing in triathlons and "I've always looked up to those guys."

The Texan is in Australia preparing for the Tour Down Under race to kickstart a year in which he is aiming for an eighth Tour de France title -- this time with Team Radio Shack which he co-owns.

A swimmer as a child and promising national-level triathlete in his late teens, Armstrong has also run in marathons, so he has the background to be competitive in Hawaii -- an Ironman event consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike leg and 26-mile marathon.

"I don't know I could be top three, top five or top 10, but anyway, I want to come and finish," Armstrong said.

Armstrong was at the famous 1989 Hawaii Ironman when Americans Mark Allen and Dave Scott staged a head-to-head matchup throughout the race, with Allen winning by less than a minute to claim the first of six titles.

Allen and Scott, along with fellow Americans Scott Molina and Scott Tinley, formed a Big Four that dominated Ironman in the 1980s and early 1990s before growing international participation.

"I grew up following and admiring the Big Four, I was here in 1989 when Dave Scott and Mark Allen duked it out until mile 25 and a half [of the marathon]," Armstrong said.

"I was in the follow car, I watched the whole thing -- it was unbelievable."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press