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Cunningham and Bentley win Longhorn 70.3

Written by: Herbert Krabel and Timothy Carlson
Date: Sun Oct 05 2008

Richie Cunningham avenged three second place finishes at the Ironman 70.3 distance this year and Lisa Bentley took her second Ironman 70.3 crown this year with definitive wins at the Longhorn Ironman 70.3 race in Austin, Texas Sunday.

Cunningham, the 35-year-old Australian pro whose best career race was a third place at the 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, broke the race open with a 1:15:19 half marathon that shut the door on all of his closest rivals. When the race was over, Cunningham overcame a 90-second lead off the bike by 26-year-old Aussie Joe Gambles. Cunningham outran runner-up Gambles by 2 minutes 10 seconds and hit the line in 3:49:45 with 56-second margin of victory.

Cunningham’s win crowns an excellent Ironman 70.3 season which included second place finishes at Rhode Island, Newfoundland and Muskoka, plus third place finishes at St. Croix and Eagleman.

Alberto Casadei of Italy, who was 8th at the ITU Under 23 World Championships in Vancouver this June and who won this year’s under-23 European championship, can say he beat a 5-time ITU World Champion in his final race.

Casadei’s 18:52 swim and 2:13:04 bike virtually duplicated 37-year-old Simon Lessing’s first two legs. But Casadei’s fresh legs and 1:18:35 run were enough to keep the South Africa born, long time Great Briton representative and Boulder, Colorado resident off the podium by 90 seconds.
Lessing, while bidding adieu to a brilliant 19-year pro career, can take some satisfaction in whipping fellow 37-year-old Boulder resident and two-time Ironman World Champion Tim DeBoom by 43 seconds. DeBoom, in his first race since an ankle injury forced him out of a planned debut at the Leadville, Colorado 100-mile ultra marathon this July, trailed on the bike and the run, but his 2:12:15 bike split outdid everyone in the top ten but Gambles’ 2:10:08 and 9th place Kieran Doe’s 2:09:41.

Bentley’s recipe for victory was virtually identical to Cunningham as the 39-year-old Canadian’s best-of-the-contenders closing 1:25:09 run overcame a 3 minute lead by 2004 ITU number 1 ranked triathlete Pip Taylor of Australia after the 56-mile bike.

Bentley, the 11-time Ironman winner, hit the finish in 4:20:15, with a 3 minute, 35 second margin of victory over Taylor, who obviously struggled in with an under-par 1:33:02 run. The second place finish was one of Taylor’s best of an up and down season. Taylor started strong with second place finishes at Iron Girl Las Vegas and the Miami International, a third at Wildflower, but faded a bit iafter a back injury knocked her out of Escape From Alcatraz and slowed her to an uncharacteristic 6th place at Los Angeles.

Annie Gervais of Canada was third in 4:28:13.
Top 10 men

1. Richie Cunningham (Aus) 3:49:45
2. Joe Gambles (Aus) 3:50:41
3. Alberto Casadei (ITA) 3:51:50
4. Simon Lessing (USA) 3:53:20
5. Timothy Deboom (USA) 3:54:03
6. Daniel Bretscher (USA) 3:54:24
7. Brandon Marsh (USA) 3:54:38
8. Ben Hoffman (USA) 3:55: 20
9. Kieran Doe (NZL) 3:57:53
10. Mark Van Akkeren (USA) 3:59:04

Top 10 women

1. Lisa Bentley (CAN) 4:20:15
2. Pip Taylor (AUS) 4:23:50
3. Annie Gervais (CAN) 4:28:13
4. Lauren Harrison (USA) 4:29:11 *
5. Kelly Handel (USA) 4:29:41
6. Felicity Hart (GBR) 4:30:23
7. Andrea Fisher (USA) 4:33:34
8. Tereza Macel (CZE) 4:35:46
9. Jessica Meyers (USA) 4:36:39
10. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 4:37:18

* = AG athlete (F 30-34)


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