Weekend Wrap-up: Challenge Taiwan, Ironman Texas and Ironman 70.3 Marbella
Frodeno, McNeice and Grant Tops Challenge Taiwan
Jan Frodeno came back to defend his Challange Half title from last year, and came back faster than ever, slashing 3 minutes, with a time of 3:45:02 (24:43/ 2:04:20/ 1:11:22). With no close competition to speak of, Frodeno easily grab the title in Taitung Taiwan, which will also be the host of the Challenge Asia-Pacific Championship this year in November.
Dylan McNeice, a multiple winner here in Taiwan, regained his spot, outlasting defending champion Fred Croneberg and Aussie Luke Bell, winning in 8:16:56. McNeice dueled with Bell in the swim and bike legs, before breaking away in the run. Croneberg produced the day’s fastest run split to grab 2nd place over Bell.
Kiwi Julia Grant ran away from the American Alyssa Godesky in the final leg to win the women’s elite title in 9:38:31. Mirroring the men’s race, Grant and Godesky stayed close through the swim and the bike. Taiwan’s Li Shiao-Yu took 3rd to round out the podium.
IRONMAN North American Championship, Texas
Hanson, Hauschildt Winners in Texas
To say it was a fast day in The Woodlands would be a gross understatement. The perfect conditions, fast course, and incredibly talented pro field all lined up for a day that delivered scorchingly fast times.*
The men hit the non-wetsuit swim first and the pace was hot from the start. Most of the race favorites came out of the water together with one big exception: Matt Hanson. While Andrew Starykowicz hit the front of the bike course with Johann Ackermann, Hanson had his chase work cut out for him up front, contained in the large group containing Frederik Van Lierde, Brent McMahon, Paul Matthews, Will Clarke, Tim Berkel, and Jan Van Berkel. Starky had a 15-minute lead off of the bike, but behind he had a hard-charging Hanson, with run shadow Ivan Tutukin seemingly a half a step behind the entire marathon. There was no stopping Hanson, however, as he stormed the run course to an all-time IRONMAN best 2:34 marathon to take yet another North American championship title.
On the women’s side, it was uber-swimmer Lauren Brandon that demolished the field, posting a 48-minute swim that left all of the pro women and pro men in her wake. The gaps getting onto the bike were large, but the women put down the watts to try to get to the front. Kimberley Morrison’s strong ride delivered her int T2 first, with Lauren Brandon a close second, Jen Annett third, and then a large group with Jodie Robertson, Mel Hauschildt, Michelle Versterby, Meredith Kessler, and Jocelyn McCauley. It was clear right away that Hauschildt had the run legs for the win in her, and closing with a 2:57 marathon made her nearly untouchable. Jodie Roberston didn’t have her usual run on the day, but she found her legs late to make her way back up to second place. The biggest mover on the day, however, was Leslie Smith who ran a 2:58 to run from 13th off the bike to third place by days’ end.
*Prior to the start of the race, IRONMAN made the decision to cut a portion of the bike course reducing the distance from the standard 112 miles to approximately 110 miles. This decision was made in the interest of athlete safety. Because of the shortened distance, no time records will be recognized.
Top 5 Pro Men
|5||Van Berkel, Jan||CHE||7:48:40|
Top 5 Pro Women
IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella
McNamee, Phillipp Tops in Marbella
The inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Marbella was much more than an appetizer for the 2018 European Tour. The first edition of the event in Spain was highlighted by a sensational sprint final in the men’s race. After the swim course had to be shortened due to wind conditions in the morning, the athletes embarked on a tough bike course perfectly suited to strong cyclists like France’s Romain Guillaume and Germany’s Andreas Dreitz. Both caught up with fastest swimmer Daniel Baekkegard, and came off the bike with a lead of more than 2 minutes over Chris Leifermann (USA) and the fast British runner David McNamee. McNamee and Leifermann started the run together, and finished side-by-side. They ran the whole course shoulder to shoulder, with McNamee ultimately sprinting to the win.
The women’s race ended up with three German pro atmee, Phihletes finishing in the top five. Spain’s Judith Corachan Vaquera and Germany’s Anja Beranek led the field out of the water, but top favorite Laura Philipp was only a few meters behind. Philipp moved to the front early and never let the lead out of her hands again. Thanks to her solid running strength, Philipp proved even more that she will be one to watch this season. Italy’s Marta Bernardi surprised with a runner-up finish among the German squad.
Top 5 Pro Men
Top 5 Pro Women
|5||Corachan Vaquera, Judith||ESP||4:37:34|
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