The Week In Tri: LANCE Armstrong Triathlon BAN ENDS in 2016 – Episode #014

armstrong on bike

Welcome to the final episode of THE WEEK IN TRI for 2015.

Highlights of THIS episode of THE WEEK IN TRI include: The loophole in the WADA rules that will allow Lance Armstrong to return to triathlon in 2016. Both Ironman and Challenge have announced new destination events at stunning locations.

All this and more in this week’s episode as we take in the latest triathlon news from around the globe review the final races of the year from last weekend..


The first bit of news is that this is the final episode of “The Week In Tri” for 2015. Next Friday is Christmas and the Friday after is New Year. (Remember to stock up on your 12 grapes for midnight on New Year’s Eve. ) I’ll be back with the first episode of “The Week In Tri” of 2016 on Friday 8 January.

Speaking of 2016, next year we could see the return of the athlete that everyone loves to hate… Yes, that’s right – Lance Armstrong’s triathlon ban ends during 2016.

Before you scream “Lifetime” at me, read the WADA regulations of 2009. Lance was banned under the 2009 code.
And the fine print says:
If an athlete is banned for more than 4 years, then that athlete becomes eligible to compete in sporting codes other than the code under which he was banned. However there are limitations. The event under the new sporting code may not be a World Championship or a National Championship or any event that is a qualifier for a World or National Championship. The event may also not be an “International” event.

So to unpack this a little: All IM and 70.3 events are qualifiers for a World Championship, so those are out. Challenge Family events may also be out if they are branded as international. But what about stand alone “bucket list” events? Events like: Escape From Alcatraz in the USA; Or the epic Sierra Nevada Triathlon in Spain; Or the Alpe d’ Huez Triathlon if France; Norseman; Celtman; or the brutal Swedish swim/run, the O till O.

I remember Chris McCormack saying in an interview that he looks forward to going head to head with Lance in a triathlon. He might just get his wish.

Another factor is that Lance will be 47 when his triathlon ban lifts. What if he comes back as an age grouper? Will the IM limitations still apply? We’ll have to see how the story unfolds. He’s already running trail events as they are outside the WADA code and creating a stir.

Ironman has a new 70.3 for 2016 in Phuket Thailand on 27 November. Nice place to spend a birthday…

In 2016 IM will experiment with splitting the pro fields where some events will have only male pros and others only female pros. This is marketed as a way to give the professional women a chance of competing in their own race without interference – but in all likelihood the opportunity to halve the prize fund at those events was also a factor.

Last weekend in IM
12 Dec (Sat):
IM 70.3 Taupo, New Zealand: Meredith Kessler (USA) and Braden Currie (NZL)
13 Dec (Sun):
IM 70.3 Ballarat, Victoria, Australia: Annabel Luxford (AUS) and Matthew Pellow (AUS)

This weekend in IM
No further events for 2015.

The Challenge Family have announced two brand new destination events for 2016. The first is Challenge Amazonia – in the rainforest on 20 March. It will be a half distance event. The second is Challenge Gran Canaria on 17 September and will also be a half distance event.

Last Weekend in Challenge:
No Challenge events last weekend.

This Weekend in Challenge:
No Challenge events this weekend.

The ITU have chosen Lake Crackenback in Australia for the 2016 ITU cross triathlon world championship. Interesting that it is the same venue that Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack are using as their winter training camp.

The world of XTERRA is in “sleep mode” till February 2016.

ITU have published their calendar for 2016 – an Olympic year.

ITU have also published their rules for 2016. They come into effect and athletes are advised to read them. The biggest changes are drafting distances for non-drafting middle and long distance events increased from 10m to 12m. Don’t get caught out. The second big change is water temperature for water safety is lowered from 13 degrees to 12 degrees Celsius.

Last weekend in ITU:
12 Dec (Sat)
Middle distance American Cup: Paracas, Peru: Salvador Ruiz Gonzales (PER)

This weekend in ITU
No further events for 2015.