Two-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack has thrown down the gauntlet on former pro-cyclist Lance Armstrong. Earlier in the week, McCormack set the triathlon world abuzz when it was revealed that he has challenged Armstrong to a one-on-one, unsanctioned race to determine just which of these two world-class athletes is better. But things got even more interesting when Armstrong himself expressed interest in such a race, which could eventually lead to what would likely be the most watched triathlon in the history of the sport.
In a recent interview, McCormack revealed that he has opened up a dialog with the Armstrong camp in an effort to reignite negotiations between the two parties. Apparently the two men were discussing such a race last year, prior to Armstrong receiving a lifetime ban from competition due to his use of performance enhancing drugs while racing in the Tour de France. Lance would later have his seven Tour titles stripped as well, as he quickly fell into disgrace following damning testimony from former teammates, friends and staffers. That testimony painted a picture of widespread and systematic use of PED’s by Armstrong and the riders who surrounded him on those Tour victories.
McCormack says he got the idea for a one-on-one race after reading a recent interview with Armstrong in which the cyclist admitted that he thought he could potentially win the Ironman World Championship. Lance is prohibited from entering such a competition due to his lifetime suspension, which has left many to speculate just how good of a triathlete he could become. But the fine print on the ban essentially prevents him from entering any race in an official capacity. McCormack’s proposal would be for an unsanctioned event, which means it isn’t governed by any specific group and the results don’t officially count.
For his part, Armstrong seems to at least be intrigued by the challenge. He actually tweeted back to McCormack saying “Hey
@MaccaNow – if you’re serious then gimme a call. Let’s discuss.” Before his ban from competition he was becoming quite an accomplished triathlete. In fact, he was winning fairly regularly before the USADA threw the book at him, and he was doing so in impressive times.
Whether or not a race between these two men ever becomes a reality remains to be seen, but I think it is safe to say there would be a great deal of interest in it if it were to happen. I’d be willing to bet that it would generate more interest than any other triathlon in history, possibly even garnering television coverage, sponsorships and so on. I also happen to think it would be fascinating to watch as Armstrong and McCormack are both tough competitors who don’t like to lose.
I know I for one would love to see this happen.