Costes rules Ironman Barcelona with sub-8 Finish
Antony Costes of France combined his 2nd best bike split and race-best marathon split to win the male elite title at the 2017 Ironman Barcelona and finish in an amazing sub-8 hour finish of 7:49:19. Yvonne Van Vlerken of The Netherlands won the women’s elite title finishing with a time of 8:46:18.
Mike Phillips of New Zealand came out of the water first in a huge lead pack of 12 men. Phillips’ swim split was 47:56 ans was immediately followed by Horst Reichel of Germany. Other notables in the pack are Sven Riederer of Switzerland (47:59), Philip Graves of Great Britain and Antony Costes (48:05). The chase pack was 2 minutes and 20 seconds down.
Strong biker Antony Costes immediately set the pace at the bike and at km 38 was with a group of 9 men. This includes Miguel Tinto of Spain, Bertrand Bilard of France, Philips, Riederer, Reichel, Viktor Zyemtsev of Ukraine, Bas Diederen of the Netherlands, and Graves.
Costes broke away and opened up a gap of 40 seconds as they passed km 110. The chase pack at that point became a group of 8.
Phillips was able to catch Costes and has split the lead group at km 144. Graves was 3rd 1:58 behind and Billard in 4th with +3:03.
Going into T2, Costes and Phillips were the leaders and the latter had the day’s best bike split at 4:09:55. Costes was just three seconds behind at 4:09:58.
Phillips went out of T2 first and immediately set the initial pace on the run, starting fast, putting up a gap of 30 seconds on the first 1.6km over Costes. Phillips looked steady and at the 8.9km mark was able to hold a lead of 35 seconds over the Frenchman. At km 24, Costes was able to take the pass, and take the lead. With just over 6km to go, Costes has increased his lead to 1:53 over Phillips, a lead that the stalwart from Thanyapura Triathlon team would not relinquish.
Costes would finish in 7:49:19, helped primarily by his race-best 2:46:50 run split. With a fast bike course, the top 3 men all went under 8 hours. Phillips held onto 2nd at 7:52:50 and 44 year-old pro from Ukraine Zyemtsev finished in 7:58:03.
Kate Comber of Great Britain was first out of the water at 52:06 and leads a group of five which includes fast Germans Katja Konschak and Daniela Saemmler. Two strong bikders in Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) and Rachel Hallam (GBR) came out together and into T1 with a deficit of 3:38.
Daniela Saemmler was at the lead in km 38 together with Lisa Huehaler of Austria and Kimberley Morrison (GBR). Van Vlerken was able to eat up onto the lead was at 4th at that mark, 2:42 behind the leader. The trio rode together till km 144 and was able to stretch their lead to 10 minutes to 4th placer Van Vlerken. Going into T2, they went off their bike together, and all 3 had the 3 best bike splits among women, with Huetthaler having the women’s best at 4:36:41. Van Vlerken went into T2 trailing by 6:17 to the leader.
At km 20, Saemmler had a lead of about a minute over Huetthaler, but Van Vlerken was close by and was able to eat the gap going into the halfway mark of the marathon. At the 28.5km mark, Van Vlerken was flying and was able to put a gap of 2 minutes and 20 seconds over Saemmler.
Van Vlerken went to win in 8:46:18, a 5:03 winning margin over Huetthaler (8:51:21) who passed Saemmler for 2nd. Saemmer finished in 8:55:11 to complete podium.
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