US GRAVEL RACE: LANCE ARMSTRONG FINISHES SECOND PLACE

Lance Armstrong, a former pro cyclist gave fellow riders a surprise on Saturday, lining up for the Texas Chainring Massacre.

The gravel bike race was held in Valley View, about 50 miles north of Fort Worth.

In a total of2 hours, 51 minutes and 23.97 seconds, 45 year old Armstrong blazed through the approximately 62-mile course of gravel and dirt roads to finish 2.5 seconds behind Mat Stephens of Dallas who emerged first place in the race.

Armstrong had been handed a ban and stripped in 2012 of his seven Tour de France victories after an investigation into his sports life found him guilty of doping.

However, his ban from participating in any competitive Olympic sport was partially lifted in September.

Speaking to the USA Today a media outfit, Armstrong said he realized it would be very likely for him to participate in “probably 80 percent of the events out there.”

For the past few years, Armstrong has been able to participate and compete actively in some of the events whose standards are not in line with the rules laid down by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

In the event held on Saturday, rides of 31, 43 and 124 miles were included as no less than 350 riders participated in the event.

The winner, Stephens managed to edge out the former pro cyclist towards the end of the 100km gravel race as he crossed the line after about 2 hours 51 minutes and 24 seconds.

The event is amongst one of the races Armstrong would participate in this year. Another one would be with three of his former US Postal team mates, a 24-hour mountain bike race.

His ban still stands, but he is allowed to participate in races not organized under UCI rules.