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Docherty Passes Armstrong for Ironman 70.3 Panama Victory

ironman 70.3 panama dochertyIn front of massive crowds spectating today's race, New Zealand's Bevan Docherty and Angela Naeth from Canada win inaugural 2012 Ironman 70.3 Panama triathlon in Panama City. The debut of an Ironman 70.3 race in Central America well exceeded the average exposure a typical race might get due to "Lance-mania". Lance Armstrong, the 7-time Tour de France champion, made his return to professional triathlon in Panama. He gave it everything he had in his return debut, even leading the race in the late stages of the run until a surging Docherty passed him for the victory. On the women's side Naeth used her fastest bike split of the day and run to pass and stay ahead of the other women contenders, finishing ahead of Kelly Williamson for the win.

Matty Reed got things started, exiting the 1.2 mile point-to-point swim in 18:49. Ivan Vasilyev, Bevan Docherty, and Rasmus Henning followed right behind him before heading out of T1 on the the 56 mile one loop bike course that included crossing the Bridge of the Americas.

Out on the bike course, it was a duel out in front between Oscar Galindez, Bertrand Billard, Chris Lieto and Lance Armstrong with Lieto coming into T2 first, closely followed by Armstrong. Gallindez ended up with the fastest men's bike split of the day with a 2:09:59.

Lieto headed out on the run in front, with Billard and Armstrong. About 2km into the run Armstrong moved into second place. Early into the run ITU star Docherty was 3-minutes down on the leaders in fourth, but gaining ground. Armstrong then passes Lieto for the lead, surprising most spectators watching there or via the internet on Ironmanlive.com. Impressive since the men's field behind him included Lieto, Galindez, Docherty, Rasmus Henning, Richie Cunningham, Romain Guillaume, Bert Jammaer, Matty Reed and others.

ironman 70.3 panama lance10 miles into the run Docherty cut Armstrong's lead down to a minute while continue to run strong. Little by little Docherty who hasn't raced in a half iron distance triathlon in well over 10 years catches Armstrong and then passes him for the lead. Armstrong hung with Docherty but was described as showing signs of hurting. Docherty crosses the finish line 42 second ahead of Armstrong for the win. Armstrong's debut is nothing less than spectacular and will fuel much attention to the sport now and races where he will be next.

2012 Ironman 70.3 Panama Results:
February 12, 2012 - Panama City, Panama

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Bevan Docherty 3:50:13
Angela Naeth 4:15:31
Lance Armstrong 3:50:55
Kelly Williamson 4:19:11
Richie Cunningham 3:52:59
Margaret Shapiro 4:19:34
Rasmus Henning 3:53:38
Leanda Cave 4:21:42
Romain Guillaume 3:54:44
Tine Deckers 4:25:29
Jesse Thomas 3:55:30
Yvonne Van Vlerken 4:29:00
Chris Lieto 3:56:21
Natascha Badmann 4:29:17
Ivan Vasilyev 3:58:32
Michelle Vesterby 4:30:20
Oscar Galindez 4:00:53
Bree Wee 4:31:09
Bert Jammaer 4:01:24
Dede Griesbauer 4:33:03

ironman 70.3 panama neathLeanda Cave had the fastest swim split of the day (20:10) to start off the women's race. Cave then went to work on the bike, pulling away from the other women but Neath had other ideas. Naeth flew through the field ending the day with the fastest female bike split. Cave reached T2 first, but Naeth was right there with her. Behind them was Tine Deckers and Maggie Shapiro but well over 2-minutes behind the leaders.

Naeth caught Cave, passed her and pulled away halfway through the run. She built up a 2:50 lead. Cave faded as Kelly Williamson surged, her run split (1:16:18), the fastest of the day helped her pass Shapiro as well which gave her a second place finish. Naeth wins only her second Ironman 70.3 race after a streak of second place finishes last year.

Some 800 athletes from 39 countries took part in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Panama triathlon in the capitol city.

Additional Coverage:
- 2012 Ironman 70.3 Panama Coverage and Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]

Check out our 2012 Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Results Grid where at a glance you can see the top three professional triathletes that made the podium at each of the Ironman 70.3 Series races around the world.
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