Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand topped Steffen Justus of Germany by 54 seconds and Sarah Crowley of Australia edged Emma Pallant of Great Britain by 1:26 to win the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship of Bahrain.
This race lost much of the buzz that attended it last year when it served as the final race of the Nasser Bin Hamad al Khalifa Triple Crown, and was the final leg of Daniela Ryf's million dollar payday. This year Ryf and Jan Frodeno won the first race of the Triple Crown at Dubai 70.3. But Ryf failed to win and Frodeno failed to enter the second leg - the Ironman 70.3 World Championship - thus making them ineligible to earn a 2016 million dollar payday.
Crowley combined a women’s 8th-fastest 30:28 swim, a women’s 4th-fastest 2:14:56 bike split and a women’s-best half marathon to finish in 4:10:59, with a 1:26 margin of victory over Emma Pallant of Great Britain, 4:09 over 3rd-place finisher Caroline Steffen of Switzerland, 4:44 over 4th place Tine Deckers of Belgium and 6:21 over 5th-place Diana Riesler of Germany.
Crowley began the run 1:06 behind bike leader Diana Riesler of Germany, 30 seconds behind Tine Deckers of Belgium, 19 seconds behind Steffen and 5 seconds behind Pallant. At 9km, Pallant seized the lead by 59 seconds over Crowley, 1:51 over Steffen, 2:31 over Deckers and 2:59 over Riesler. By 13 km, Pallant led Crowley by 43 seconds, Steffen by 2:23, Deckers by 2:31 and Riesler by 3:55. At 15km, Pallant held on to 21 seconds over Crowley, 2:47 over Steffen and 3:23 over Deckers.
Crowley made the pass a few kilometers later and cruised home with a women’s-fastest 1:20:40 run that was 1:41 faster than Pallant, 4:10 better than Steffen and 4:58 quicker than Deckers.
Steffen had the women’s fastest swim in 28:54, Riesler had the women’s fastest bike split in 2:12:55 and Crowley had the women's-fastest run in 1:20:40.
Crowley’s win capped off a 2016 season that included a win at Ironman 70.3 Taiwan, 4th at Geelong 70.3, 2nd at the Noumea International Triathlon, 3rd at the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Cairns, 3rd at the Asia-Pacific Ironman 70.3 Championship in Cebu, 13th at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship at the Sunshine Coast, and 15th in her Kona debut.
Bozzone combined a 6th-best 25:07 swim, a by-far race-best 1:56:48 bike split and a 5th-fastest 1:15:16 half marathon run to finish in 3:41:32, with a 54 seconds margin of victory over Steffen Justus of Germany and 2:38 over 3rd-place finisher Sam Appleton of Australia.
Eric Watson had the fastest swim in 24:58, Bozzone had the fastest bike split in 1:56:48 and Steffen Justus had the fastest run split in 1:11:26.
Bozzone’s victory comes six days after a record-breaking 7:51:26 victory at Ironman Western Australia. "I won Ironman Western Australia last weekend and felt my body starting to come back the last few days,” Bozzone told his Bahrain Endurance team public relations. “This was really cool. I haven't been able to stand on the start line here in Bahrain [before] but was able to make it happen this year."
Bozzone added: "I just gave it everything on the bike and a few times thought I'd gone a bit hard too early. I managed to hold it together and come off [the bike] with a good lead [4:28 over Bahrain Endurance teammate Appleton and 4:53 over Justus at T2]."
“I settled into a pretty good rhythm. I saw [our team captain] Shaikh Nasser [Bin Hamad Al Khalifa] out on the course. Unfortunately he crashed his bike when his bike broke in half with the wind gusts. I really wanted to try and push and try and get the win for him and the team."
Appleton struggled to minimize his deficit to Bozzone on the bike. “"It took me a little bit to get started on the bike. Once I did I started to chase down T [Terenzo], but he was riding pretty well." Appleton lost a place to Justus who advanced to the runner-up position with the day’s best run split - 1:11:25 - but cut his deficit to Bozzone to 2:38 at the finish with a 2nd-best 1:13:29 run.
Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain
December 10, 2016
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Sarah Crowley (AUS) 4:10:59 - $20,000
2. Emma Pallant (GBR) 4:12:25 - $10,000
3. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:15:08 - $6,500
4. Tine Deckers (BEL) 4:15:43 - $4,000
5. Diana Riesler (GER) 4:17:20 - $3,000
6. Kirsty Jahn (CAN) 4:19:06 - $2,000
7. Alice Hector (GBR) 4:20:28 - $1,500
8. Judith Corachan Vaquera (ESP) 4:21:36 - $1,250
9. Jessica Jones Meyers (USA) 4:22:18 - $1,000
10. Natascha Schmitt (GER) 4:23:36 - $750
1. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:41:32 - $20,000
2. Steffen Justus (GER) 3:42:26 - $10,000
3. Sam Appleton (AUS) 3:44:11 - $6,500
4. Romain Guillaume (FRA) - 3:48:29 - $4,000
5. David Plese (SLO) 3:49:15 - $3,000
6. Matt Trautman (RSA) 3:49:38 - $2,000
7. Antony Costes (FRA) 3:50:43 - $1,500
8. Yvan Garrige (FRA) 3:52:54 - $1,250
9. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 3:56:16 - $1,000
10. Fredrik Croneborg (SWE) 3:56:29 - $750
14. Michael Raelert (GER) 3:58:27