Photo credit: Bert Stephani
Liz Blatchford of the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team has successfully defended her Ironman Cairns title. Liz dominated the rain-drenched race from start to finish, clocking in with a final time of 09:16:58. Melanie Burke (New Zealand; 09:22:53) and Asä Lundström (Sweden; 09:25:56) completed the podium. This is Liz’ fifth Ironman title. The Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team’s 2014 victory tally now stands at eight.
Liz led the race from start to finish, kicking things off with an especially impressive swim. Almost four minutes ahead of Hillary Biscay, she was out of the water with the top men and on the bike as the fifth pro overall. In the bike leg, Liz got to a fast start, building a lead of nine minutes at the first turn. Towards the end of the bike leg, Liz ended up in a large group of age group men. The result: a four-minute penalty going into T2. That left Liz only 1:28 ahead of a fast-riding Melanie Burke. But Liz kept her cool and in a solid marathon steadily built her lead for a controlled win.
Liz was obviously thrilled with her second Ironman Cairns title. “This feels amazing. There were so many spectators along the course. As an ambassador for the race, I have met so many people this week. And today, it just felt like the whole crowd was behind me. It really was a fantastic feeling; it brought a smile to my face. Of course, it wasn’t easy. These Ironmans don’t get any easier, that’s for sure. But I had a good day. The water was very choppy because it was so windy and stormy. Those conditions suit me, so I was able to work hard and build a good gap on the rest of the girls. The bike ride was pretty lonely for the most part. I tried to stick to my own rhythm, but then at about 150 k a bunch of age group men caught me. As they were speeding up and slowing down, I ended up moving into a draft zone. Just a lack of concentration for a second, but there was no way I could move past 20 men. So I got a yellow card and coming into T2 I had to stand down for four minutes. I just tried to not let it get to me much. I knew I had a pretty good gap on the rest of the field and I did still manage to get out on the run first. Mel was close at the start of the marathon and she was running well, but I just tried to stick to my own race plan. I went out fast and managed to gradually pull away. It’s nice to be able to focus on the build-up towards Kona now. I have a couple of weeks downtime coming up now in which we’re headed towards the US to start preparing for Hawaii.”
Cameron Brown (New Zealand; 08:20:15) took the men’s title. Australia’s Tim Van Berkel (08:23:23) and Peter Robertson (08:33:26) finished second and third respectively.
For full race results click HERE.