Great Britain’s Ritchie Nicholls and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf made strong statements ahead of next month’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships, turning in solid all-around races to take the wins against tough competition.
2008 Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno led a top-notch field of swimmers into T1 with a split time of 20:39. Australia’s Josh Amberger was next, with brothers Ivan and Denis Vassiliev (RUS) following. American Matt Chrabot, an ITU athlete trying his hand at the 70.3 format, was the final athlete in that lead group. Nicholls’ swim time of 21:47 put him into T1 about a minute behind the leaders with a large group.
That core group of five leaders managed to stay out front for the first 40K, but two fast-riding athletes in Germany’s Sebastian Kienle and France’s Sylvain Sudrie were making up time quickly. Kienle took over the top position, with Sudrie following closely, but they didn’t get away. Several top runners kept pace with them to T2 to make for a large pack to start the half marathon. Germany’s Andreas Dreitz was first into the transition with several athletes right behind him. Nicholls was ninth off of the bike. With so many athletes in close proximity, it quickly became a runners’ race.
Nicholls found the lead within the first 5K and didn’t look back. His blistering 1:08:53 half marathon (a 5:15/mile pace) gave him the victory in 3:56:55. Frodeno bested Nicholl’s run split by one second, but had to settle for second. Italy’s Alessandro Degasperi rounded out the top three.
Last year’s 70.3 world champion Kienle finished sixth.
Australia’s Annabel Luxford was the first out of the 1.2-mile swim with a time of 22:12. She had Rahel Küng (SUI) right on her heels, but it was more than a minute back to the next competitors. Ryf came into transition with 90 seconds to make up on the Australian.
Luxford took advantage of her lead and pushed hard through the 56 miles. She maintained her gap over Ryf in the early miles, but Ryf pushed hard over the final half of the bike. Luxford came into T2 with the lead, but it had shrunk to 22 seconds. Luxford carried her momentum from the swim and bike onto the run, but it wasn’t enough to hold off a fast-running Ryf. Ryf’s 1:21:25 half marathon gave her the 4:31:34 victory. Luxford easily earned second in 4:32:43. Scotland’s Catriona Morrison, who has spent the year coming back from an injury, had the fastest run of the day (1:21:02) to round out the podium.
Ironman 70.3 European Championship
Wiesbaden, Germany – Aug. 11, 2013
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Ritchie Nicholls (GBR) 3:56:55
2. Jan Frodeno (GER) 3:57:35
3. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 4:00:14
4. Josh Amberger (AUS) 4:02:37
5. Boris Stein (GER) 4:02:47
1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:31:34
2. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:32:43
3. Catriona Morrison (GBR) 4:36:27
4. Tamsin Lewis (GBR) 4:39:28
5. Lisa Hütthaler (AUT) 4:42:40
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