From Heat to Penalties
With Chrissie Wellington’s withdrawal from the race this morning and 40 mph winds coming down from Hawi, the bike leg was an eventful race this year. Temperatures soared into the low 100’s, (40+ degrees celcius), with pavement temperatures on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway broiling up to 120 degrees (48 dgrees celcius). Want to see what these guys are up against? Check out this course map and video of the bike.
One story that broke early on in the bike course was German athlete Sandra Wallenhorst’s missing an out and back in Kailua town. We don’t have the details or an official statement yet. The rebel in the men’s race was Rasmus Henning, who forgot to take off his swim skin bottoms and rode the entire course in them.
Early on in the bike, Pete Jacobs, Ben Hoffman, Faris Al Sultan, Dirk Bockel, and Daniel Fontana ended up serving time in the penalty box. There are various reasons competitors can end up with a penalty: Drafting yields a red card and a four-mintue penalty, with trespasses like littering and positioning bringing a yellow card and a stop in the penalty box. Any combination of three cards leads to a disqualification. Al Sultan was the only one who didn’t serve the full four minutes. A blocking penalty is suspect.
Records Broken in the Lava Fields
In the women’s race, Julie Dibens held onto her strong, 5:00-plus lead over Caroline Steffen and Mirinda Carfrae for most of the race. One of the unexpected moves was Texan Amy Marsh’s move from ninth place, through to a steady sixth, up to third, where she remained until the final mile. Today, a new women’s bike course record was set: Swiss athlete Karin Thürig clocked a bike split of 4:48:22, breaking Paula Newby-Fraser’s 1993 record by eight seconds. However, because bike splits back in the day used to include both transition splits, the new record is a little misleading.
Upon seeing her record broken, Newby-Fraser commented on how the record was “way overdue” to be broken. “It was hanging around way too long,” she said. Still, it can’t be easy to watch the sport evolve and change.
Zeroing in on mile 90, World Champion Craig Alexander was eight minutes behind last year’s second-place winner, Chris Lieto, and 4:14 behind Andreas Raelert. In the last 10 miles of the men’s race, Chris Lieto doubled his lead over second-place holder Maik Twelsiek, and hit T1 looking incredibly smooth and poised. Chris McCormack continued as the big mover in fourth place, just under 7:00 back. In the last push, Craig Alexander, Andy Potts, Terenzo Bozzone, and Cam Brown were over 12:30 down from Lieto.
Talking to 2006 World Champion and Olympian Michellie Jones behind the scenes reveled some of the unique points of this year’s race. She highlighted what she called the “German rat pack,” which changed the traditional men’s race significantly.
“The Germans really threw it down after Hawi,” she said of the turn around point. As for the other racers, she said everyone knew what Lieto would do, but that nobody really picked Chris McCormack—someone she calls a smart player who knows how to push the bike.
The women’s bike race was more on pace with the usual pattern where a leading woman (Julie Dibens) dominates. She said Mirinda Carfrae has really improved across the board as well, including on her bike.
The Top 10 Women into T2 (Bike split, total time):
1. 4:55:28 5:51:13 Dibens, Julie: Boulder CO USA
2. 4:59:23 5:57:20 Steffen, Caroline: Mooloolaba QLD AUS
3. 5:02:26 6:00:27 Marsh, Amy: Austin TX USA
4. 5:04:59 6:02:47 Carfrae, Mirinda: Brisbane QLD AUS
5. 4:59:42 6:03:38 Van Vlerken, Yvonne: Schwarzach AUT
6. 4:48:22 6:04:43 Thuerig, Karin: Retschwil SWI
7. 5:10:33 6:04:50 Joyce, Rachel: London GBR
8. 5:06:52 6:04:55 Griesbauer, Dede: Boston MA USA
9. 5:07:30 6:05:01 Cave, Leanda: Tucson AZ USA
10. 5:02:25 6:05:43 Deckers, Tine: Bouwel BEL
The Top 10 Men into T2 (Bike split, total time):
1. 4:23:18 5:17:30 Lieto, Chris: Danville CA USA
2. 4:26:01 5:20:12 Twelsiek, Maik: Tucson AZ USA
3. 4:31:00 5:24:31 Vanhoenacker, Marino: Jabbeke BEL
4. 4:30:48 5:25:07 Tissink, Raynard: Port Eliza ZAF
5. 4:31:51 5:25:09 McCormack, Chris: Burraneer NSW AUS
6. 4:25:21 5:25:29 Weiss, Michael : Colorado S CO USA
7. 4:29:42 5:25:33 Bracht, Timo: Eberbach GER
8. 4:32:27 5:25:47 Raelert, Andreas: Drage GER
9. 4:28:58 5:25:49 Stadler, Normann: Mannheim GER
10. 4:32:40 5:25:58 Al-Sultan, Faris: Al-Ain ABU ARE