Weekend Wrap-up: Challenge Vietnam, Beijing International Tri, Ironman Wisconsin, Challenge Almere-Amsterdam, Ironman Wisconsin

Robins, Fleming take wins in Inaugural Challenge Vietnam

Mitch Robins live up to the expectations with an impressive win in the inaugural Challenge Vietnam with a time of 4:04:44 in the beautiful coastal city of Nha Trang, Vietnam.   He used his overall best run split of 1:17:42 to hold off fellow Aussie Levi Maxwell (4:05:20), who had the day’s best bike split of 2:14:27.   Robins came out of the water in a two-man lead pack with Colombia’s Carlos Forero.  Maxwell, who trailed by 2 minutes going into T1, methodically chipped on the gap on Robins on the bike, and led into T2 by 10 seconds.   Robins and Maxwell battled head to head on the run, sticking until the last 2 kilometers, when Robins made his gap-widening move.  Robins winning margin was only 36 seconds.   Forero lost 7 minutes on the bike to the leaders to a flat tire, but made up on it with the day’s 2nd best run split.  He finished  3rd at 4:11:48.

Jessica Fleming (AUS) used her women’s best bike split of 2:31:53 on a rolling course, to take the women’s title with a time of 4:42:44.  Her bike split was 4 minutes and 28 seconds clear of the 2nd best women’s split, enough for a 2:25 winning margin over Julia Grant (NZL).  Kathryn Haesner (AUS) was the sole leader going into T1 with the women’s best 32:14 swim split, but struggled on the bike.  3rd place would go to Michelle Duffield with a time of 4:51:40.   Monica Torres of the Philippines had the best women’s run split of the day (1:31:16) and finished 4th.


Alistair Brownlee, Holly Lawrence continue streak with wins in Beijing

Britons Alistair Brownlee and Holly Lawrence continued their impressive wins in Rio Olympics and Ironman 70.3 Worlds respectively, when they took the titles at the 5th Beijing International Triathlon.

Brownlee swam near the lead, chasing only Josh Amberger (AUS), and a few seconds ahead of the chase pack that include Camron Dye and Joe Maloy of the USA.  Dye blasted his way to the lead going to T2 with the day’s best bike split (55:47) and a 2-second lead over Brownlee.   They were a good 2 minutes ahead of the chase pack that included Maloy, Amberger when Dye coughed up a 1:24 deficit on the run to Brownlee (35:54 run split), cruising for a 57 second win over the hard-charging Maloy.  Dye would hang on to win bronze.

Holly Lawrence (GBR) survived a bike spill involving a wandering dog, and despite that used her women’s best bike split of 1:04:54 to win the women’s title, a week after being crowned the Ironman 70.3 World Champion.   Lawrence had to hold off Ashleigh Gentle on the run, winning by 7 seconds for a time of 2:07:39.  Despite combining a women’s best swim and bike split, Holly had to work on the run, registering the 4th best run of 39:58, overcoming the course that is filled with stairs.  Gentle registered the 2nd-best run of the day, 39:01, and was nearly overtaken by Barbara Riveros of Chile for silver, who ran the fastest 10k among women at 37:57.  Riveros would finish 2 seconds behind 2014 champion Gentle.  American Lauren Goss, the defending champion, would finish 4th.

Nevada’s Liz Lyles claimed the win in heart of “America’s Dairyland” for the second time in her career on Sunday.

by Shawn Skene

It was no surprise at that Amanda Stevens (USA) led the women out of the water with her 54:57 swim at IRONMAN Wisconsin. Katie Thomas (USA) and Christine Hammond (USA) were next to hit dry land four and a half minutes later. Meanwhile, Leslie Miller (USA) and Liz Lyles (USA) were out of the water in the fourth and fifth positions and looking at over six and seven minute in deficits before they grabbed their bikes in T1.

Stevens put up a brave fight on the bike throughout the first half of the bike as she managed to hold off charges mounted from behind by Thomas and Lyles. In the second half of the bike, Thomas forced her way into the lead and managed to build a buffer of over four minutes on Stevens and Lyles as the leader hit the dismount line.

Once on the last leg of the race, Lyles let her run prowess dictate the dynamics of the course. Five miles in Lyles ran her way into the lead and started putting in time on the entire field. At the completion of the first half of the run, Lyles bumped her lead up to over six minutes and eventually would enjoy a double digit lead nearing the end of the race. She let up slightly when her lead was large enough to know that the win was firmly in her hands. Lyles claimed her second IRONMAN win of the season, and the fourth of her career in a winning time of 9:33:47. Miller’s second fastest run on the day netted her the second step on the podium while Thomas hung on to grab third after being in the mix up front for much of the race.

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Lyles, Liz USA 1:02:35 5:15:45 3:08:10 9:33:47
2 Miller, Leslie USA 1:01:24 5:27:04 3:08:24 9:43:39
3 Thomas, Katie USA 0:59:33 5:14:34 3:28:14 9:49:27
4 Godesky, Alyssa USA 1:04:03 5:25:58 3:16:59 9:53:44
5 Stevens, Amanda USA 0:54:57 5:23:12 3:32:05 9:58:20
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By Ciska Borsboom

Jan Raphael lived up to our expectations today: with impressive show of strength, he won the 2016 edition of Challenge Almere-Amsterdam. After a decent swim he got away from the rest of the field on the bike and increased his lead further and further. Camille Deligny won the women’s race. After finishing third last year, she now took gold in a very exciting race.

Supreme achievement of Raphael
Raphael had a decent swim by being in the lead group of five, but took the lead immediately after getting on the bike. Checked though determined, he was able to create a distance between himself and the rest of the field with the German Christian Otto, Polish Marek Jaskolka and Youri Severin in the first chase pack. After about 90 km, they were joined by a second larger chase group, consisting of Erik-Simon Strijk, Dirk Wijnalda, Scottish Graeme Stewart and others. Wijnalda, who performed very well on the swim course, had a comfortable position in this chase pack of 9 and could prepare for his marathon, usually his best part of the race. After the 180km bike leg, Raphael reached the Transition Area with a convenient 12 minute advantage. By running a fast pace the first two rounds, he wanted to strengthen his position, so he told us afterwards. His pace was so promising that he was on track to break the course record of Jan van de Marel (7u 57) dated from 1999, but he eventually finished a great 8.03.43. Dirk Wijnalda started the marathon in second position, which he was able to retain. With an outstanding 2.49.59 run Wijnalda even made up some time on Raphael, but he turned out to be out of reach. Polish Marek Jaskolka overtook Erik-Simon Strijk in the last kilometers of the race and took the bronze. Strijk finished fourth, Diederik Scheltinga fifth, which made them number 2 and 3 in the Dutch Championship race.

Weerd needs to dig deep
The women’s race turned out as a turbulent battle for the gold. As expected, Mirjam Weerd took several minutes on the swim, but was not able to follow a very strong Camille Deligny on the bike leg. The two women entered the Transition Area with more than a 20 minute lead. Last years winner Kathrin Walther had already lost precious time and would get out the race after the bike leg. Deligny, who finished third last year, started the marathon in leading position, but halfway, Weerd caught up on her. They seemed to start taking turns, but at 28km Weerd got in trouble. She lost several minutes and even seemed to miss the podium, due to an unleashed Simona Krivankova. Krivankova had company of Erica Csomor (HUN), and the three women got into a heavy battle for second and third spot. But Weerd was able to dig deep. She finished second and thanked the cheering crowd while being very emotional. Simona Krivankova took the bronze with an outstanding marathon, which made her make up the almost 20 minute backlog on Weerd.


Weiss “Cruzs” His Way to the Win in California

by Shawn Skene

There was no match for Michael Weiss on two wheels nor racing flats at the 2016 IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz as the Austrian claimed the victory in this legendary race.

Chris Braden (USA), Christian Kemp (AUS), and Cameron Good (AUS) were first out of the water and lead the field heading out onto the bike. The swim had little impact on the race as the finish would be determined out on the bike and run courses in this pro men’s only race.

Michael Weiss had a dominating bike split of 2:04:37 that propelled him to the lead at the conclusion of the bike. Justin Rossi followed the leader into T2 but immediately faltered and faded out of contention as soon as the run started.

The real drama of the race was the elite chase pack of seven that dismounted their bikes within seconds of each other. In the group were all the contenders: Ben Hoffman (USA), Richie Cunningham (AUS), Jesse Thomas (USA), Denis Chavrot (FRA), Cody Beals (CAN), Drew Scott (USA), and Paul Ambrose (AUS).

It was evident early on that Weiss was having a flawless race and the remainder of the field was relegated to fighting for second and third place positions. With four miles remaining in the run, there were was now a group of five (Beals, Thomas, Hoffman, Chevrot, and Cunningham) running together three minutes back to Weiss and duking it out for the last two steps on the podium. Weiss would easily win the race while Chevrot would nip Hoffman at the finish line by less than a second for second place.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Weiss, Michael AUT 0:27:18 2:04:36 1:13:08 3:50:25
2 Chevrot, Denis FRA 0:23:27 2:11:48 1:13:20 3:53:17
3 Hoffman, Ben USA 0:25:06 2:10:06 1:13:35 3:53:18
4 Beals, Cody CAN 0:25:29 2:09:59 1:13:32 3:53:28
5 Thomas, Jesse USA 0:25:07 2:10:11 1:14:00 3:53:59


Wiltshire and Pallant Win in Weymouth

The inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth brought the British much success as Harry Wiltshire and Emma Pallant reeled in victories.

British athletes dominated at the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth. From start to finish no other nation had a chance to touch the leader’s position.

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Brit’s go big

In the men’s race, it was a trio that led the way already early in the water. Mark Threlfall was the first athlete out of the water in 23:33 minutes, followed by his fellow countrymen Harry Wiltshire and Stuart Hayes. French Yvan Jarrige in fourth place was only 30 seconds behind those three, but he couldn’t catch up with the leaders in T1 or on the bike course.

Jarrige eventually found his place in the chase group which got dropped on the first 50 kilometers by about 3 minutes. When the three Brits came off the bike, the gap to the chase group was still the same. Only two weeks after celebrating his first IRONMAN title in Vichy, Wiltshire took initiative in T2 and moved into first place. Although Hayes was able to pass Threlfall after about 14 kilometers he couldn’t get closer than a minute to Wiltshire while Jarrige ran into fourth with the best half marathon of the day.

Focused on the finish line

Emma Pallant took her first IRONMAN 70.3 win in Weymouth thanks to a solid performance and a strong run. Coming out of the water in third place, the runner-up of the IRONMAN 70.3 Budapest made up a lot of time on the first few kilometers of the bike. She passed the fastest swimmer Hannah Drewett (GBR) early on and remained in that position with intense focus.

Natalie Seymour(GBR) made up a lot of time after a weaker swim, she moved into runner-up position after about 60 kilometers. Although Seymour showed a strong performance she couldn’t touch Pallant at any point. The best run split in the women’s race was a solid base for Pallant’s great success ahead of Seymour and Drewett.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Wiltshire, Harry GBR 0:23:35 2:23:50 1:18:03 4:10:41
2 Hayes, Stuart GBR 0:23:38 2:23:39 1:18:45 4:11:43
3 Jarrige, Yvan FRA 0:24:09 2:26:16 1:16:11 4:12:12
4 Threlfall, Mark GBR 0:23:33 2:23:37 1:20:05 4:12:53
5 Liebelt, Markus DEU 0:26:38 2:23:22 1:19:07 4:15:05

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Pallant, Emma GBR 0:26:53 2:44:22 1:23:13 4:40:16
2 Seymour, Natalie GBR 0:29:27 2:44:02 1:25:03 4:44:49
3 Drewett, Hannah GBR 0:25:02 2:51:30 1:37:53 5:01:11
4 Richards, Suzie GBR 0:29:28 2:48:22 1:38:39 5:03:22
5 Olle Gatell, Dolca ESP 0:26:52 2:53:14 1:39:54 5:06:59


Dreitz and Hector Rule in Ruegen

Reigning IRONMAN European champ Andreas Dreitz (GER) and British Alice Hector dominated the Strandräuber IRONMAN 70.3 Ruegen.

The third edition of the Stranräuber IRONMAN 70.3 Ruegen offered a great race to all participants. For the first time in the race’s history  athletes were lucky enough to be graced with great weather and perfect conditions. Especially Andreas Dreitz, as he stormed on the course around the famous Ostseebad Binz.

Reigning Euro champ defends his title

The reigning IRONMAN European champion exited the swim in the middle of the lead group 13 seconds behind the fastest swimmer, Johann Ackermann. These two Germans partnered on the bike and hammered away from the rest of men’s pro field. Thanks to outstanding bike splits the duo reached T2 with an advantage of nearly 4 minutes over the strong German biker Konstantin Bachor while fast all-rounders like Timo Bracht were more than 6 minutes behind.

Only one week after finishing in 11th place at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, Dreitz  immediately made his move on the run. After 4 kilometers he had opened up a gap of a minute on Ackermann, through half way of the run he was already more than 3 minutes away. Dreitz had no issues to take his fourth IRONMAN 70.3 victory of the season ahead of Ackermann and the strong German Patrick Dirksmeier who rounded out the podium in front of Bracht and Dutch Mark Oude Bennink.

Hector all the way

Alice Hector was out at the front all day in women’s race. The 34-year-old British athlete was directly behind Suse Werner (GER) when they came out of the water, but she moved to the front quickly in T1.

Hector had Werner at her side on the first few kilometers on the bike and a German shadow later on during the bike leg. It was Daniela Saemmler who remained riding about 250 meters behind the lead for more or less the entire course.

Last year’s IRONMAN Mallorca champion seemed to be waiting for her chance coming up on the run after having beaten Hector at the IRONMAN 70.3 Luxembourg in June. But the British leader never struggled. Hector had the fastest run to eventually win the race by more than 6 minutes. Saemmler took  second place more than 4 minutes ahead of Hungary’s Anna Halasz, who rounded out the podium.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Dreitz, Andreas DEU 0:23:29 2:01:03 1:15:38 3:43:54
2 Ackermann, Johann DEU 0:23:16 2:01:10 1:20:22 3:48:50
3 Dirksmeier, Patrick DEU 0:23:17 2:07:29 1:16:03 3:50:32
4 Bracht, Timo DEU 0:23:33 2:07:19 1:17:38 3:52:06
5 Oude Bennink, Mark NLD 0:23:27 2:07:20 1:17:56 3:52:21


Top 5 Pro Women

1 Hector, Alice GBR 0:26:45 2:23:15 1:24:28 4:18:50
2 Saemmler, Daniela DEU 0:28:02 2:22:28 1:30:21 4:25:09
3 Halasz, Anna HUN 0:34:12 2:20:53 1:30:06 4:29:28
4 Kotfica, Paulina POL 0:26:46 2:29:19 1:32:58 4:33:02
5 Wolff, Katharina DEU 0:29:53 2:29:32 1:31:10 4:34:52
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