Germany’s Andreas Raelert and Sandra Wallenhorst overcome tough competition to take the wins at Sunday’s Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany. Raelert’s win came thanks to a dominating performance on the bike, while Wallenhorst worked her way through the field and only took the lead in the final miles of the run.
The day started with Germany’s Christian Ritter leading the charge into T1 at 47:31. Raelert headed into transition only a few seconds later and quickly worked to get away from those still exiting the swim. Raelert, who is mostly known for his running skills, didn’t give the other professionals much of a chance to catch him as he posted a blistering 4:20:35 bike split. Defending champion Timo Bracht, also of Germany, found his way into second position thanks to a 4:31:14 bike split. The swim-bike combo gave Raelert an 11-minute lead over Bracht heading onto the run. At this point in the race it became a question of whether or not the efforts put out by Raelert on the swim and bike would affect his usually strong marathon. While Raelert did not turn in the fastest marathon of the pack, he did run a 2:53:27 run time. The amazing performance by the German gave him the win at 8:05:15. Bracht ran the fastest marathon of the day at 2:47:37, but had to settle for second at 8:10:22. Australia’s Chris McCormack replicated his third-place performance from 2009, finishing in 8:14:43.
The women’s race started with Germany’s Katja Konschak dominating the swim, turning in a time on par with the men’s strongest swimmers at 49:39. The next closest pursuer was Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen at 52:58. Wallenhorst, who has always struggled on the swim, found herself in T1 nearly 10 minutes after Konschak had taken to the roads. Fortunately for her pursuers, Konschak’s bike performance did not match her swim as she quickly fell towards the back of the pack. With the lead swimmer fading, Steffen charged on the bike. While Steffen did not bike the fastest 112-miles of the day, her slight lead on the swim gave her the advantage over her pursuers. She headed into T2 with a lead of 6:06 over Diana Riesler, 6:24 over Wallenhorst and 6:41 over the Netherlands’ Yvonne Van Vlerken. Wallenhorst quickly passed Riesler and slowly chipped away at Steffen’s lead over the 26.2 miles. At the half-marathon point, Wallenhorst had cut Steffen’s lead down to just over three minutes. It became clear that the winner would be whichever women could overcome the hot conditions. While Wallenhorst did appear to be struggling, she passed Steffen on the final lap of the run, taking her second-straight win with a time of 9:04:27. Steffen held off Van Vlerken to take second in 9:06:42. Van Vlerken rounded out the podium in 9:10:21.
Ironman European Championship
Frankfurt, Germany – July 4, 2010
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:05:15
2. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:10:22
3. Chris Mccormack (AUS) 8:14:43
4. Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:18:33
5. Jan Raphael (GER) 8:19:27
1. Sandra Wallenhorst (GER) 9:04:27
2. Caroline Steffen (SWI) 9:06:42
3. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 9:10:21
4. Diana Riesler (GER) 9:27:37
5. Katja Konschak (GER) 9:31:57