Despite rainy conditions and a relatively tough course, Andreas Böcherer took charge on the bike and took the win at the 70.3 European Championships in Wiesbaden, Germany. Karin Thuerig also took care of business on the bike and earned the women's title.
Francesc Godoy led a very strong field of men out of the water in Wiesbaden in 22:41. The Spaniard had an almost 1 minute advantage over a group of chasers that contained most of the favorites. One notable name absent from that group was Sebastian Kienle, but that wasn't completely surprising. The German is not known for his swimming speed, but he had hoped for less of a disadvantage than the roughly 3 minutes he had given up on Andreas Böcherer, Filip Ospaly, Mathias Hecht and the others.
Once Godoy was reeled in, Böcherer took charge on the rain drenched bike course and established a 1 minute advantage over Hecht by the 50k mark. Böcherer gained even more time on the very difficult bike course and reached the bike-run transition with a 4 minute lead over Hecht and even more time on Ospaly. A bit further back, Kienle had dropped out earlier after crashing 3 times.
Ospaly closed out his day with the fastest run, but his 1:13:50 time was not quick enough to catch the German. Böcherer took the win in 4:08:36 and earned the European Championship title. Ospaly finished second and fellow Czech Pro Martin Krnavek finished third.
"Conditions were absolutely ok with some wet parts on the bike course," said Böcherer to slowtwitch. "It means very much to me, also needed points for my Kona slot, but the title is absolutely the highlight of my career."
Karin Thuerig started her day on the bike with a 5.5 minute disadvantage, but that is something the tall Swiss Pro is pretty much used to. Thuerig recorded the fastest bike split among the women and reached the second transition about 90 seconds ahead of long time leader Anja Ippach from Germany and a few more seconds in front of Austrian Eva Wutti.
Ippach gained on Thuerig early on, but that did not last very long. Thuerig stormed to another win and the European title. Wutti finished second and 6-time Ironman World Champion Natascha Badmann finished third.
"I'm very happy with this race," said Badmann. "I did not know how my performance could be today. It was my personal goal to be happy at the end of the day - and I'm really happy now. It was a great race with a great audience. It was very well organized and a challenging, but great, course."
Defending champion Yvonne Van Vlerken struggled on the bike but ran well and finished fourth.
Ironman 70.3 European Championships
Wiesbaden, Germany / August 14, 2011
1.9k swim / 90k bike / 21.1k run
1. Andreas Böcherer (GER) 4:08:36
2. Filip Ospaly (CZE) 4:10:19
3. Martin Krnavek (CZE) 4:15:02
4. Mathias Hecht (SUI) 4:17:01
5. Daniel Niederreiter (AUT) 4:20:23 * AG M30-34
6. Dmitry Rosryagaev (RUS) 4:22:05
7. Mike Aigroz (SUI) 4:23:53
8. Brandon Marsh (USA) 4:24:28
9. Julian Mutterer (GER) 4:24:49 * AG M18-24
10. Thomas Hellriegel (GER) 4:24:51
1. Karin Thuerig (SUI) 4:45:47
2. Eva Wutti (AUT) 4:50:54
3. Natascha Badmann (SUI) 4:51:39
4. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:52:27
5. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:52:28
6. Sophie De Groote (BEL) 4:53:13
7. Anja Ippach (GER) 4:54:50
8. Jenny Schulz (GER) 4:55:08
9. Sofie Goos (BEL) 4:56:23
10. Christine Liebendörfer (GER) 5:02:06 * AG W30-34