Frederik Croneborg of Sweden won his first Ironman title and Diana Riesler of Germany took her third straight Ironman Malaysia crown on a searing hot midday followed by a pouring rain finish at Langkawi.
Croneborg overcame a 2:22 deficit to swim leader Harry Wiltshire of Great Britain after the swim with a fastest professional 4:42:02 bike split. Croneborg then held on with a 4th-best 3:01:22 marathon to finish in 8:39:12 with a 33-seconds margin of victory over fast-closing Thiago Vinhal of Brazil.
Croneborg finally earned his first career Ironman win after taking runner-up finishes at Ironman Malaysia and Ironman Taiwan last year. “It feels incredible,” Croneborg told Ironman.com media. “There’s a lot of reasons for that. It’s my first Ironman title and, after doing two second places, it is great. It got so close at the end and my preparation has not been optimal. All these things together and the pressure before the race - it’s amazing.”
Riesler trailed leading female pro Maki Nishiuchi of Japan by 1:05 after the swim and surged to a 6:31 lead after a women's-best 5:01:33 bike split. Riesler then closed the deal with a women’s second best 3:21:37 run that brought her to the finish in pouring rain in 9:25:34, with a 9:50 margin of victory over fellow German Mareen Hufe.
The victory was Riesler’s third straight at Langkawi and provides some vindication after she pulled out of a cold day in Ironman Frankfurt with hypothermia. The win was Riesler’s fifth Ironman title including Ironman wins at Lanzarote and Vichy.
Harry Wiltshire of Great Britain led the swim in 50:12 which gave him a 10 seconds lead on Balasz Csoke of Hungary, 13 seconds on Jeremy Jurkiewicz of France, 34 seconds on Antony Costes of France, 36 seconds on Alberto Casadei of Italy, 44 seconds on Daniil Sapunov of Ukraine, and 56 seconds on Mitch Dean of Australia. Overall contenders Vinhal and Croneborg trailed by 1:09 and 2:22 respectively.
A group of five riders including Jurkiewicz, Wiltshire, Costes, Sapunov and Dean led the field at 103km of the bike leg. They led a group of three including Vinhal, Croneborg and Marcel Zamora Perez by 2:14. By 120km the chase group of three cut the lead to 35 seconds. By 169km, Croneborg joined Jurkiewicz at the front with a 1 minute lead on Vinhal, 1:35 on Dean and Wiltshire, 1:45 on Sapunov, Zamora Perez and Costes, and 1:55 on Nick Baldwin of Seychelles.
After a pro’s 2nd-best 4:42:02 bike split (amateur Nick Bensley of Australia rode an impressive 4:27:48), Croneborg trailed leader Jurkiewicz by 4 seconds. Vinhal was next (+1:34), followed by Dean (+1:53), Wiltshire (+2:04), Sapunov (+2:05), Baldwin (+2:09 - with the pro's-best 4:41:30 bike split) and Zamora Perez (+3:02).
Croneborg broke out aggressively and by 11.3 km on the run led by 2:16 on Vinhal, 2:31 on Jurkiewicz, 4:51 on Baldwin, 5:22 on Sapunov and 6:02 on Wiltshire.
After 29km of the run, Vinhal was running 7 seconds per kilometer faster than the leader and sliced Croneborg’s advantage to 1:07. Sapunov, who was running 10 seconds per kilometer faster than Croneborg, reduced Croneborg’s lead to less than 3 minutes. At that point, Croneborg realized he was under attack and started to resist. By 35km, Croneborg’s lead was down to 55 seconds on Vinhal and he was running the same speed as his challenger.
As dark rain clouds replaced the scorching noontime sun, Croneborg hit the line in 8:39:12 with a 33 seconds margin of victory on Vinhal (2:59:08 run) and 3:54 on 3rd-place Kaito Tohara, who closed with a race-best 2:57:29 run.
Maki Nishiuchi of Japan led the women's swim in 57:43 which gave her an 8 seconds lead on Leslie Miller of the U.S., 1:05 on Riesler, 2:48 on Laura Siddall of Great Britain, and 2:52 on Mareen Hufe of Germany.
By 70km of the bike leg, Riesler surged to 3:41 lead on Siddall, trailed closely by Hufe. By 120km, Riesler increased her lead to 5:30 on Siddall and Hufe, with Tine Holst of Denmark at 10:29 and Leslie Miller 13:34 arrears. After a women’s-best 5:01:33 bike split, Riesler led by 6:31 on Siddall (5:05:57 bike split), 6:56 on Hufe (5:06:24 split), 18:11 on Holst, and 23:49 on Miller.
After a brief counterattack, Siddall reduced her deficit to 5:56 at 7.4km, but that was the end of the threat. At 25km, Hufe passed Siddall for 2nd place, 7:59 back of the leader. Riesler wrapped up her third straight Ironman Malaysia title with a 9:50 margin on Hufe and 12:16 on 3rd place Siddall.
November 12, 2016
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Frederik Croneborg (SWE) 8:39:12
2. Thiago Vinhal (BRA) 8:39:45
3. Kaito Tohara (JPN) 8:43:06
4. Daniil Sapunov (UKR) 8:45:00
5. Jeremy Jurkiewicz (FRA) 8:47:00
6. Marcel Zamora Perez (ESP) 8:52:50
7. Nicholas Baldwin (SYC) 8:53:32
8. Harry Wiltshire (GBR) 8:56:00
9. Alberto Casadei (ITA) 9:00:36
10. Ritchie Nicholls (GBR) 9:04:59
1. Diana Riesler (GER) 9:25:34
2. Mareen Hufe (GER) 9:35:24
3. Laura Siddall (GBR) 9:37:51
4. Tine Holst (DEN) 9:41:48
5. Erin Green (USA) 10:11:54
6. Phoebe Fear (AUS) 10:15:13 *F35-39
7. Shiao-Yu Li (TWN) 10:21:11
8. Lina-Kristin Schink (GER) 10:25:12
9. Maki Nishiuchi (JPN) 10:34:54
10. Leslie Miller (USA) 10:44:29