Cycling great Lance Armstrong is set to ride in New Zealand next year but not as part of a cycling event but in his much awaited return to triathlon.

The seven times Tour de France champion announced on Twitter that he will race in the Eves Blue Lake Multisport Festival, in a sprint triathlon held in Rotorua at the end of January.

Armstrong made the announcement under his alter-ego Juan Pelota where he gave away the destination of a triathlon he plans to race in.

"I'm thinking the first tri is here... 38°12'S 176°20'E," the tweet believed to be written by Armstrong read.

An hour later he tweeted, "Late January..."

Those coordinates match to Lake Tikitapu near Rotorua and the time frame is in line with the Eves Blue Lake Multisport Festival which takes place on January 30.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the event which includes a sprint triathlon of a 750m lake swim, 16km road cycle and a 5.5km forest run.

Event organiser Charlotte Pearson confirmed that Armstrong will be racing in the event.

"It's pretty exciting. His media advisor emailed me yesterday to confirm it.

"I got in contact with him and asked 'Can you confirm this?' and he said 'Yes we can confirm that it is Lance'.

"We actually never dreamed about this kind of thing it's crazy.

"For all those top New Zealand triathletes it will be a novelty to race against Lance Amstrong. We usually attract club competitors so it will be pretty cool for them to say that they've raced Lance."

Entries only opened a few weeks ago with Armstrong being just the third person to sign up. Since then 20 people have already entered and the number is expected to rise sharply.

Before carving out a record as one the greatest cyclists of all time, Armstrong began his sporting career as a triathlete winning the US national sprint-course triathlon title in 1989 aged just 18.

Armstrong's media advisor said that the legendary cyclist will be coming to New Zealand after the Tour Down Under in January.

Next year's Tour Down Under in Australia is meant to be Armstrong's last professional cycling race outside the United States.

New Zealand triathlete Samantha Warriner responded to the tweets by saying: "Let me know if you really are coming - I'd love to be the first to 'chic ya' in 2011! :)"

- Herald online