The 2008 Leadville Trail 100 race pitted seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong against local and then five-time Leadville winner Dave Wiens. It was a tough battle, but in the end Wiens triumphed. But Armstrong will get a chance at revenge on August 15 as both racers are planning to start the 2009 Colorado event according to organisers. The 2007 Leadville runner-up Floyd Landis may also join them.
The Leadville 100 covers a 50-mile out and back course with 14,000 feet of elevation change throughout. A lottery determined on February 1 who will get the 1,000 race entries.
"Everyone wants to ride with the man," said race president Ken Chlouber, referring to Armstrong after his participation in last year's race and his commitment to be at this year's starting line.
In 2008, Wiens of Gunnison successfully defended his title by beating Armstrong by just under two minutes and setting a new course record of 6:45:45. Wiens has won the "Race Across the Sky" every year since 2003.
Last year was Armstrong's first finish in a competitive bike race since he retired following his seventh straight triumph in the Tour de France. Shortly thereafter he announced his comeback as a professional road racer. The Leadville 100 will slot in just after the Tour de France, which Armstrong intends to race with Team Astana in July.
"Lance may be the only racer I know of who will be using the Tour de France to train for the Leadville Trail 100," joked Chlouber.
But Armstrong may not be the only racer with Tour de France experience in attendance. In 2007 Wiens broke the seven-hour mark for the first time in front of second-place finisher and five-time Tour de France participant, Floyd Landis, who won the Tour de France in 2006, at least until his title was revoked after a positive doping test. Landis, who has made a post-suspension comeback with Team Ouch, could also contend this year's Leadville.