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Lance Armstrong paces triathlete through gruelling 100 mile trail race despite ban

Lance Armstrong, a former cyclist who was stripped of seven Tour de France titles, paced ex-MLB player and triathlete Eric Byrnes at the Western States 100.

Former cyclist and triathlete Lance Armstrong made an appearance at the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race on Saturday in California. The 44-year-old helped pace friend, triathlete and ex-Major League Baseball player Eric Byrnes for 32 kilometres of the Western States 100, one of the most prestigious trail running races in the world.

Armstrong, who was stripped of seven Tour de France titles for doping, paced Byrnes from mile 60 to 80 at the race which is considered one of the world’s most famous ultramarathons. Race pacers are permitted to run alongside runners at the event, which begins at Squaw Valley ski resort and finishes in Auburn, to aid and support competitors. Each runner can have their own pace team, if they so choose.

Armstrong, who is banned from racing the event because of a zero-tolerance rule on cheaters, was allowed to pace because he wasn’t an official entrant. Rule 18 of the Western States policy states the following:

“The Western States Endurance Run has a zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Any athlete who has been determined to have violated anti-doping rules or policies, whether enforced by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), or any other national sports federation is ineligible for entry into the Western States Endurance Run.”

The implementation of the rule came before Armstrong expressed interest in running in the famed event.

Byrnes, 40, completed the 160K run in 22:50:55 and finished 73rd overall. He has been a triathlete since 2010, completing iconic races such as Wildflower Triathlon, Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, and the Ironman US Championship. He hold a full distance PB of 10:45:01 (Ironman Arizona, 2011). He played major league baseball for 11 seasons (2000-2010) beginning his career with the Oakland Athletics and retiring with the Seattle Mariners.

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