Julie Dibens and Sebastian Kienle win Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, which was shortened to a bike-run format due to strong winds.
Although the conditions in New Orleans weren’t as violent as the weather that ravaged North Carolina and Mississippi today, the wind in southern Louisiana was still strong enough to eliminate the swim and greatly affect the bike and run at Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans.
Instead of the typical wave format, the race was held with a time trial format, meaning that athletes start one at a time with a 30 second gap between each other. Since the swim was cancelled, the time trial start allowed the athletes to start the bike with a little space to prevent a humongous pack from forming at the start of the race.
Terenzo Bozzone was the first man to start the race and he defended this position all the way through the 56-mile bike, entering the bike-run transition after a 2:05:44 ride. Although Bozzone was first into the transition zone, German Sebastian Kienle rode fastest on the day, splitting 2:02:18 with an average of 27.47mph, and was the true leader on the road to start the run. After fighting blustery, powerful winds for 56 miles, Bozzone rode second fastest on the day with Massimo Cigana riding 3rd fastest only 20 seconds behind Bozzone, with Axel Zeebroek, Tim O’Donnell, Kyle Leto ad Richie Cunningham all riding between two and three minutes slower than Cigana.
Leaving bike-run transition, the leaders were:
2. Bozzone -2:23
3. Cigana -5:29
4. O’Donnell -6:02
5. Leto -6:15
The burden of riding and running in front of the entire pack as the other athletes were able to gauge their effort off each other appeared to take its toll on Bozzone, and he seemed to struggle as soon as the run started. As soon as they left the only transition of the day, Kienle stretched his lead on Bozzone and hit the 5k mark with a 4:21 gap on the New Zealander, who was still tentatively defending his second place. As Bozzone lost time to Kienle, Cigana and Paul Amey all also took a major chunk out of Bozzone’s lead. Amey rocketed through the field and assumed second place a little after the half way mark on the run.
No one threatened Kienle’s lead and he crossed the line in 3:18:08 to win the 2011 Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. Paul Amey ran 1:12:17, the fastest split of all the contenders, to finish second. Paul Matthews of Australia ran 1:13:21, averaging 5:35 miles, to claw through the field and finish third.
Right from the gun, Julie Dibens and Samantha Warriner turned Ironman 70.3 New Orleans into a one-on-one showdown.
The two veterans were head and shoulders above everyone else on the bike, including Heather Jackson who rode away from Mirinda Carfrae at Rohto Ironman 70.3 California just a few weeks ago.
Dibens ripped through the bike course in 2:15:16 to overcome Warriner and start the run with a 1:19 lead. Jackson punched through the winds and left transition 4:07 behind Dibens, with Yvonne Van Vlerken 4:47 behind the Brit. Dangerous runner Linsey Corbin had the 7th fastest ride on the day and started the run 7:48 behind Dibens.
After 5k on the run, Warriner retrieved 24 seconds from Dibens despite the fact that she was only 6 weeks removed from a win at Ironman New Zealand. Jackson, Van Vlerken and Corbin also kept pace with the leader through the first 5k. Early in the run, it looked as if Dibens’ might have over extended herself on the bike and could struggle on the run. With plenty of tough racers not far behind, Dibens faced a tough battle.
Although she had an incredible 2010 70.3 race season, the one blemish on her record was Rev 3 Quassy, where she blew up on the run and was passed by three women, including Samantha Warriner. Would Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans be a repeat?
Dibens would not allow that to happen. She held a fast pace over the second half of the run to hold off Warriner. Julie Dibens finished in 3:40:15 with her rival only 1:16 behind. Van Vlerken ran herself into third place and Linsey Corbin used a 1:21:37 run split to take 4th. Tine Deckers of Belgium held Jackson at bay to take 5th place.
Results: 2011 Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
- Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:18:08
- Paul Amey (GBR) 3:23:08
- Paul Matthews (AUS) 3:25:23
- Richie Cunningham (AUS) 3:25:54
- Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:26:14