Categorized | Featured, Sports

Armstrong vs. Lieto showdown on Queen K

Chris Lieto and Lance Armstrong compare notes after their friendly sprint. (Hawaii 24/7 photo special by Ron Haake)

Story and photos special to Hawaii 24/7 by Ron Haake | www.colorwaveimaging.com

Lance Armstrong, the biggest name in the history of cycling and a part-time Kukio resident, and Chris Lieto, second place finisher in this year’s Ironman World Championships met on Wednesday for a bike showdown on Queen Kaahumanu Highway.

On a blustery day, the event, dubbed the first Twitter Time Trial, pitted the two cyclists against one another in a 14-mile sprint from Waikoloa Beach Drive to Kukio Nui Drive.

Armstrong said he barely nudged Lieto by 15 seconds, with a time of 18 minutes, 35 seconds for the wind-aided course. Both men averaged more than 35 miles per hour, even with a net elevation gain.

The race was proposed via tweets on Twitter by Armstrong, after the two cyclists passed each other Monday on the Queen K going opposite directions.

Armstrong later said the Twitter Time Trial on Queen K could be “the first of many, who knows.”

Lieto, who had the fastest bike split in Ironman 2009, is accustomed to 112-mile rides, but he was more than up for the challenge on what was a getaway day for both men, headed elsewhere to train after extended stays on the Big Island conditioning themselves for their respective sports.

In a testament to the power of social networking and Twitter, this training challenge between two top athletes that was arranged the day before and not formally publicized, drew a crowd of more than 50 people at the Kukio Nui “finish line,” in addition to a group of other athletes who raced in time trials on the same course after the two principals.

Armstrong has committed to racing in this July’s Tour de France and is expected to race next month in Spain.
He already has a record seven Tour de France titles, won between 1999 and 2005.

Lieto was just honored as the Endurance Sports Awards Competitor of the Year.

Lance Armstrong

Chris Lieto

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