After three years of hosting full Ironman events, St. George transitioned this year to the 70.3 and saw its most exciting pro race to date. As the 2013 Ironman 70.3 U.S. Pro Championship, the race welcomed several top professionals who all had the hopes of taking a share of the $75,000 prize purse and the large chunk of KPR points up for grabs. Also unlike past years, the race featured beautiful conditions with somewhat minimal winds and a high temperature for the day in the low 80s. In the end it was 2012 London Olympic Brent McMahon of Canada and 2012 Ironman St. George winner Meredith Kessler who turned in impressive all-around days to earn the victories.
American Andy Potts took his usual spot out front of the 1.2-mile swim out of the beautiful Sand Hallow Reservoir. Potts didn’t hold a large gap though as ITU speedster brothers Ivan and Denis Vasiliev were right on his heels. Another great swimmer, Brian Fleischmann (USA) came out on his own 26 seconds back, and then it was a large group with a few of the top contenders following. The Vasiliev brothers and Potts pushed the pace up front, with a big pack including TJ Tollakson (USA), Greg Bennett (USA), Andrew Starykowicz (USA), Luke McKenzie (AUS), McMahon and others giving chase at 1:45 down in the early miles of the bike.
Although many expected a strong cyclist to make a break on the tough 56-mile course, it didn’t happen. The Vasiliev brothers and Potts maintained their position out front throughout the ride and came into T2 with a small lead over a large group that included McMahon, Collington and others. It was evident early out of T2 that McMahon had the smoothest run form on the undulating hills. His 1:13:20 run split was easily enough to power him past the Vasiliev brothers and Potts and give him the 3:51:10 victory. Collington earned one of the top finishes of his career, crossing in second to earn the U.S. pro title. After doing much of the work up front throughout the day, Potts cruised in for third.
The women’s race saw several strong swimmers make the start and it was American Meredith Kessler first into the transition at Sand Hallow. German Olympian Svenja Bazlen, American Olympian Laura Bennett, Australian Annabel Luxford, American Katy Blakemore and American Kelly Williamson followed. Reigning Ironman and 70.3 world champion Leanda Cave (GBR) was seventh out of the water, one minute down from Kessler.
Bazlen took advantage of her strong swim split and powered through the beginning of the bike, featuring the only flat stretch of the course. By mile 16 her lead stood at 1:05 over Kessler and Luxford, with Bennett, Williamson, Heather Wurtele (CAN) and others three minutes back.
Bazlen’s lead only grew from there and by the time she reached T2 it stood at what seemed like an insurmountable time of 4:30. Kessler and Luxford were next into transition with Wurtele not far behind. Bazlen, a former ITU athlete and 2012 Olympian, looked strong on the early miles of the run, but the effort on the bike proved to be a bit too much. Kessler slowly chipped away at her lead and eventually took over the top spot. Her 1:22:49 half-marathon split was one of the fastest of the day, giving her what she calls the biggest win of her career in 4:17:11. Bazlen maintained second position to the finish line and earned second in 4:18:46. Wurtele rounded out the U.S. Championship podium.
VIDEO: Meredith Kessler Calls St. George Biggest Race Of Her Career
Ironman 70.3 St. George
St. George, Utah – May 4, 2013
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Brent McMahon (CAN) 3:51:10
2. Kevin Collington (USA) 3:53:38
3. Andy Potts (USA) 3:54:21
4. Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) 3:55:08
5. Denis Vasiliev (RUS) 3:55:59
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:17:11
2. Svenja Bazlen (GER) 4:18:46
3. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 4:20:26
4. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:23:09
5. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:23:13
– Meredith Kessler Tries New Strategy For 2013
– Stellar Field Heads To St. George For 70.3 U.S. Champs
– St. George’s Shift From Ironman To 70.3
– St. George Travel Guide For Triathletes
– Quotes: Pro Panel At Ironman 70.3 St. George
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