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Elite company for Armstrong in Rotorua

Published: 2:50PM Thursday December 16, 2010 Source: ONE Sport

  • New Zealand triathlete Bevan Docherty (Source: ONE Sport)
    New Zealand triathlete Bevan Docherty - Source: ONE Sport

New Zealand's top triathlete Bevan Docherty will challenge seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong in Rotorua early next year.

Since news of Armstrong's shock entry late last month for the Blue Lake Multisport Festival, several big name athletes have registered their interest to line up alongside him.

Double Olympic medallist Docherty, who won silver at Athens 2004 and bronze at Beijing 2008, has been confirmed this week by event organisers Rotorua Association of Triathletes (RATS).

Joining Docherty and Armstrong in the sprint triathlon for the event's 25th anniversary will be Ironman athletes Bryan Rhodes and Kieran Doe.

Rhodes is a former Ironman winner in Malaysia, UK and Canada, while Doe is fresh of a second place finish at the Tinman in Mt Maunganui.

RATS spokeswoman Charlotte Pearson is understandably thrilled to have Docherty, Rhodes and Doe added to the start sheet.

"It means a lot for us to have Bevan, Kieran and Bryan back competing. These are athletes who have both previously made their mark on the event, and it's great recognition of the festival as it celebrates the 25th anniversary," she says.

"This is a unique event on the national triathlon calendar, making the very most of the stunning natural environment that Rotorua has to offer.

"It was developed and is still run by local volunteers with a love for the sport and a desire to provide achievable events for the local community. We are delighted to have this level of interest in our event."

Pearson says there are still other top triathletes in the pipeline for the event, and she hopes to confirm those details in coming weeks.

The festival, held over the weekend of January 29 and 30, will be Armstrong's first foray back into the sport of triathlon following a glittering professional cycling career.

An icon in the world of cycling, Armstrong is certainly no stranger to triathlon.

Having been a swimmer in younger years, Armstrong later became a champion age group triathlete - taking back to back national sprint course titles as an 18 and 19-year-old before switching to cycling fulltime.

The Blue Lake Multisport Festival consists of four key events - a sprint triathlon, an aquathlon, a 2km swim and a fun run. The events have been designed for triathletes of every level and ability.

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