Ironman 70.3 European Championship
The pace was fast right from the gun at Lake Waldsee Raunheim. Germany’s Jan Frodeno took the lead immediately and by the time he exited the water only four had kept up with his torrid 20:39 pace. Included in the exclusive lead group were: Aussie Josh Amberger, Russian brothers Denis and Ivan Vasiliev and American Matt Chrabot (USA). Long-distance swim experts like 2005’s Ironman world champion, Faris Al-Sultan (+1:06), found themselves well behind. Reigning world champion Sebastian Kienle (GER) was 3:02 behind after the swim, but was able to catch up to the leaders by the 46 km point of the bike. While Kienle got to the front, he wasn’t able to pull away from the leaders as he did last year at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. Coming off the bike there was a lead group of 11. Andreas Dreitz (GER) jumped off the bike first, but Kienle ran out of T2 in the lead. Frodeno, who was second off the bike, had problems finding his gear bag and lost critical time. By the time the German’s bag was located, Nicholls was challenging Kienle for the lead. Frodeno ran his way to the runner-up position thanks to a 1:08:52 split, but the new British 70.3 star got to the finish line at the Kurhaus Wiesbaden 40 seconds ahead of Frodeno in a course-record time of 3:56:55. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) claimed the last spot on the podium in 4:00:14 ahead of Amberger and Germany’s Boris Stein.
Rahel Küng (SUI) and Annabel Luxford led the way in the water in the women’s race, exiting side by side in 22:11. German Svenja Bazlen (+1:14), Ryf (+1:32) and four-time Olympian Anja Dittmer (GER) followed the outstanding swimmers. While Küng lost contact with the leaders early on the bike, Luxford stayed at the front for most of the race, leading through the 17 km point of the run.
Coming off the bike with a 22-second lead over Ryf, Luxford managed to pad her lead to almost a minute before Ryf made her decisive move at 17 km. She crossed the line in a new course-record time of 4:31:34, just 49 seconds ahead of Luxford. Behind them there was some drama. Co-favorite Bazlen was forced out due to technical problems with her shifters, while Scotland’s Catriona Morrison took another big step on her way back to the top of Ironman racing after a couple of years of injury with her third place (4:36:27) ahead of Tamsin Lewis (GBR) and Lisa Hütthaler (AUT).
ITU World Cup Tiszaujvaros
Florin Salvisberg (SUI) won his first ITU World Cup race with a superb performance in Tiszaujvaros. Salvisberg, who was crowned U23 European Champion earlier this year in Holten, continued his fine form in 2013 with a confident performance, emerging from the water amongst the leaders, a position he would not relent over the course of the race. Salvisberg finished in 53:46.
In a day of firsts, Francesc Godoy (ESP) secured his first World Cup podium (+:08) and the returning Frederic Belaubre (FRA), in his first ITU race of the year, finished third to complete the podium (+:12).
For the women, Katie Hursey (USA) made it back to back World Cup wins with another controlled performance at the ITU World Cup in Tiszaujvaros. Hursey, a winner in Palamos last month, ran a brilliantly tactical race – keeping herself in the chase group before exploding on the run to take victory in 1:00:25.
Aileen Reid (IRL) finished second (1:00:52) and Sara Vilic, the Croatian racing for Team ITU, completed the podium six seconds back of Reid.
The event was held in an experimental semifinal-final format over two days in which both rounds were conducted at the half Olympic distance — 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike and 5 kilometer run. Approximately 80 men and 50 women competed in semifinal heats on Saturday to earn 31 starting spots per gender in yesterday’s finals.