Weekend Wrap Up: Ironman Australia, Ironman 70.3 Busselton, Challenge Riccione, Italy and IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship, St. George

IRONMAN Australia

Forty-one year old Marino Vanhoenaker added a 17th IRONMAN title to his illustrious list with a hard-fought victory at IRONMAN Australia in Port Macquarie. The Belgian star went with the early move on the bike, held strong as the bungee cord stretched, and then withstood a challenge from eight-time IRONMAN winner Luke McKenzie to prevail for the first time in Australia.

Vanhoenaker went with a break in the one-lap swim with Kiwi Mark Bowstead, Casey Munro, and defending champion David Dellow opening a 3-minute buffer. As Munro and Dellow dropped, the remaining pair pushed on – with McKenzie commenting that their 3-min gap at 90kms was at a speed that was too fast. Bowstead’s new bike record of 4:29:08 enabled a 1:30 gap to Van Hoenaker and 5:30 to McKenzie on to the run. By 21 km, Bowstead’s charge faded and McKenzie’s prediction was beginning to ring true as he closed to 2 min from the lead. That was the closest he came; Vanhoenaker dug deep with a 2:54 marathon, enough for victory in 8:14:37. McKenzie took a proud second nearly 4 minutes back, with Bowstead scoring his first IRONMAN podium.

In the women’s race, Annabel Luxford set the tone, exiting the swim with American Kelsey Withrow holding a massive 7 minute margin. By 90 km it was down to 5:40 before the defending champion Laura Siddall claimed the lead at the 145 km mark. Asthma issues accounted for Luxford’s day, leaving Siddall to charge ahead at the front. Her 4:56 bike put her 15 minutes faster than anyone else, and her 3:10 marathon, also the fastest of the day, clinched her win 24 minutes ahead of New Zealand’s Melanie Burke, and Withrow a further nine minutes in arrears.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Vanhoenacker, Marino BEL 8:14:37
2 Mckenzie, Luke AUS 8:18:10
3 Mark Bowstead, Mark NZL 8:26:25
4 Shearer, Nathan AUS 8:29:13
5 Ambrose, Paul AUS 8:29:37

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Siddall, Laura GBR 9:05:58
2 Burke, Melanie NZL 9:29:49
3 Withrow, Kelsey USA 9:44:59
4 Visser, Elis NLD 9:56:31
5 Kiley, Renee AUS 9:58:13

IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton

Unseasonably strong winds and rain brought about a late change with the IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton turned into a run-bike-run. This didn’t faze the pre-race favourites, however, with Terenzo Bozzone and Liz Blatchford prevailing in emphatic fashion.

Bozzone, who defended his IRONMAN title in Busselton in December, made it four wins on the trot in 2018, set up with a record 1:58:08 effort for the 90 km course. From there, his 1:16 run was more than enough to smoke his way to victory in 3:27:00, more than 11 minutes clear of Kiwi compatriot Callum Millward with two time world champion Craig Alexander a further minute back.

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Blatchford was in the bunch for the first run before also setting up the win on the bike, with her 2:24 opening a seven minute buffer. She held on during the run to win by that margin over Annelise Jefferies and a further 5 mins to Lisa Tyack. Three women were disqualified after taking a wrong turn on the run.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Bozzone, Terenzo NZL 3:27:00
2 Millward, Callum NZL 3:38:29
3 Alexander, Craig AUS 3:39:03
4 Mainwaring, David AUS 3:41:01
5 Johnson, Brett AUS 3:43:59

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Blatchford, Liz AUS 4:10:54
2 Jefferies, Annelise AUS 4:17:39
3 Tyack, Lisa AUS 4:22:02
4 Diaz, Kirby AUS 4:22:15
5 Davis, Clair AUS 4:24:57

Challenge Riccione

Giulio Molinari triumphs in the 2018 edition of Challenge Riccione. Second and third place go to the Austrian Thomas Steger and the German Frederic Funk. A race to be experienced kilometer after kilometer, this first edition of Riccione, with 1000 athletes at the start.

The start of the elite men from the beach of Riccione at 10:00 am is the beginning of this highly anticipated day. Molinari is the first out of the water (swim fraction of 1900 meters) and in the transition area. The transition phase favors Verdejo Inaki Baldellou who is the first to head out of T1 followed by Mattia Ceccarelli and Giulio Molinari. From the start Molinari and Ceccarelli set the pace on the bike for the group, leaving everybody behind. The two remain together until Monte Cerignone where Molinari breaks away on the downhill. Entering in T2, his advantage is stunning, almost 6 minutes ahead of the chase group led by Jaroslav Kovacic, followed by Christian Birngruber, Thomas Steger and Mattia Ceccarelli. During the 21km of the run fraction (21 km) Molinari is able to keep this advantage. The arrival is triumphal and Molinari closes the race in 4h00’58”. The Austrian Steger who has a sensational run fraction follows. The podium is completed by the German Frederic Funk, the surprise of the day.
In the women’s race Yvonne Van Vlerken wins the race with her exceptionally strong run. The experienced athlete with an impressive CV closes the race in 4h37’18”. The initial phase of the race is led by the young local athlete, Sharon Spimi. After her outstanding swim fraction, Spimi enters T1 first followed by Margie Santimaria and Swiss Celine Schaerer. The 90 km on bike through the region’s beautiful surroundings are spectacular with only a few drops of rain. At Coriano Spimi and Santimaria are together but only a few kilometers after the young athlete of Riccione is a victim of a fall. She does not give up and gets back on the bike but loses her leading position. Santimaria remains in pole position until T2 but behind her Yvonne Van Vlerken is getting closer. Vlerken is able to manage the last fraction well and with a decisive and overwhelming run, closes the gap that separates her from the leader of the race. The Italian tries to keep up with Van Vlerken but her opponent is too fast.  Vlerken crosses the finish line after 4h37’18” putting Santimaria in second place. The Austrian athlete, Bianca Steurer, comes in third.

IRONMAN 70.3 North American Pro Championship, St.

GeorgeLionel Sanders (CAN) had to wait until the run to shake a persistent Sebastian Kienle (DEU) on his way to the win in Utah. The pair first had to deal with a two-minute deficit at the conclusion of the swim and an early solid ride by Sammy Appleton. The pair laid down the fastest bike splits on the day that saw them dismount their bikes together and hit the run shoulder to shoulder. Sanders managed to gain the advantage early on the run as a small gap appeared in the open mile of the run. Kienle could never reel in the leader as Sanders stretched his lead out to 1:27 as he crossed the finish line for the win.

Injuries and illness put a damper on Paula Finlay’s (CAN) stellar ITU career with IRONMAN being the benefactor of the Canadian’s change in focus. In only her third half distance start, Findlay had a consistent day across the board in all three disciplines that saw her run her way into the lead at 4 miles ahead of veteran Meredith Kessler and onto her first ever IRONMAN 70.3 win. Jeanni Seymour and Sarah True also ran well, taking second and third.

Top 5 Pro Men

1 Sanders, Lionel CAN 3:41:11
2 Kienle, Sebastion DEU 3:42:38
3 Weiss, Michael AUT 3:43:13
4 Appleton, Sammy AUS 3:46:51
5 Reed, Tim AUS 3:50:25

Top 5 Pro Women

1 Findlay, Paula CAN 4:15:53
2 Seymour, Jeanni ZAF 4:17:19
3 True, Sarah USA 4:17:46
4 Kaye, Alicia USA 4:19:19
5 Kessler, Meredith USA 4:21:32

Originally from: http://asia.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2018/05/the-monday-round-up-05.07.aspx#ixzz5ErRkbJbP

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