Michael Raelert and Julie Dibens take Clearwater 70.3 Worlds 09
Written by: Timothy Carlson with Herbert Krabel
Date: Sat Nov 14 2009
Saturday Julie Dibens broke won her first paved road triathlon World Championship and along the way became the first woman to break the 4-hour barrier for the Ironman 70.3 distance. Her sizzling 3:59:33 clocking left her 4 minutes and 16 seconds ahead of two-time Ironman 70.3 runner-up Mary Beth Ellis, and 3:06 in front of Joanna Zeiger's one-year-old race record, the previous world best for the distance.
Dibens, just two weeks after securing her third straight Xterra World Championship on the off road trails and rocks of Maui, did it with a third best women's swim of 23:48, a rocket-ship magnitude bike split of 2:07:15 , and the sixth-best half marathon split of 1:24:37.
In a year in which Boulder, Colorado neighbor and Scrabble partner Chrissie Wellington made history by smashing the Ironman distance world best with an 8:31 clocking at Roth, Germany, and toppled the Ironman Hawaii women's race record set by Paula Newby-Fraser 17 years before with an 8:54 clocking, Dibens' race breaking the women's 4-hour barrier may be overshadowed. Nevertheless, it is also a significant barrier broken for women in triathlon.
Powered by a race-best, but not a course record, 1:20:32 half marathon, Canadian Magali Tissyre out sprinted Swiss athlete Caroline Steffen to take third. Laura Bennett overcame a drafting call she hotly disputed but which cost her 4 minutes, taking 5th in 4:07:39.
Longshot Michael Raelert of Germany shocked the field and emerged from the shadows of his brother Andreas with a record-smashing 3:34:04 overall time. In so doing, he broke Terenzo Bozzone's year-old race and world record time for the 70.3 distance by 6:06. He also broke his brother's year-old run record by 1:48 with a course record 1:09:06 clocking. His 1:59:35 bike split, though 8th fastest among the top 10 overall finishers, broke the 2007 course record of 1:59:55 set by Oscar Galindez
With his performance Raelert emerged from the shadow cast by his older brother Andreas, who slashed past a dozen competitors last year with a 1:10 run to finish in second place, and who made an impressive Kona debut during which he dueled for 10 miles with Craig Alexander before finishing third. Despite looking like a Chippendale dancer as he almost ran out of his race pants, Michael Raelert also looked as if he wasn't breathing hard when he hit the line.
Current two-time Ironman Hawaii winner and the first Ironman 70.3 world Champion Craig Alexander saluted Raelert's performance and took no offense that his 2006 winning time would have placed him 25th on this record smashing day. "Many people think that Michael Raelert came from nowhere and he was no match for his brother Andreas," said Alexander. "But he has been on the radar for everyone who know about this sport. This came as no surprise to me, as I have raced him many times and knew his potential was a match for his brother."
Alexander summed up the day when he said: "I think this type of quantum leap in performance is great for our sport and can happen when the fields are so deep in quality and speed."
On his own behalf, Raelert was quite humble. "I never thought this would happen today," he said. "I only hoped to make a top 10 or maybe a top 5 finish. I am so happy." In the next moment, Raelert gave full credit to the coaching he received from his brother Andreas. "Before, I would have good races and bad races and I didn't know why. But I asked Andreas to coach me for this race and he taught me how to focus for one big race and not to worry about the little races leading up to it. When I followed his advice, I became stronger than I ever have been before."
While Italian two-time Olympian Daniel Fontana was thrilled with his 3:36:44 finishing time and silver medal finish, the USA's Matt Reed combined admiration for Raelert's performance, disappointment with his own, and criticism of the layout of the Clearwater course.
When asked if he would have taken it if someone had offered him his 3:37:50 finishing time without racing the championship, Reed replied with a definite "No!"
While he understood the particular demands of running a race in an highly developed residential area like Clearwater, Reed did have his disagreements with the bike course layout. "The narrow lanes on the bike course, necessary because they have to share the road with cars and narrow the race lanes, gives the bike a big draft effect. Which means it turns into a running race really."
Reed added, "I'm not calling anyone a cheater, because the reality of this course is the reason for unavoidable drafting effect. Michael played the game forced upon us all very well and he deserved to win. I just wish I had my run legs today."
Frenchman Sylvain Sudrie, who recently lost a close duel for the ITU Long Course World Championship gold medal to American Tim O'Donnell, ran a fourth best 1:12:47 to hold off Australian Joe Gambles for fourth.
Greg and Laura Bennett both had hard times dealing with the circumstances on the bike. While Greg started stronger, Laura got home-bragging rights. Greg Bennett got off the bike in third place after a third-best 1:59:08 split, but faded out of contention on the run. Laura Bennett was polite but irate after recounting her drafting penalty that cost her 4 minutes and moved her back from 2nd place to 5th. "I was riding 10 meters back of the top women's chase group when a huge pack of men pros caught the women. Suddenly 30 men caught us and created havoc. If I followed the rules, I theoretically would have to pass all 40 men or fall back behind all of them all of them," said Bennett. "So the draft marshal came up and have me a 4-minute penalty." Bennett didn't sulk however. Her 1:22:43 run, second fastest to third place Magali Tissiyre's 1:20:32, brought her back to 5th place. Husband Greg, after posting a swift 1:59:01 bike, faded to a 1:21:00 run and finished in 27th overall.
Not everyone emerged unscathed. Defending champion Joanna Zeiger, riding in the middle of the small pack chasing Julie Dibens, crashed and broke a clavicle.
Clearwater 09 Gallery 1
Clearwater 09 Gallery 2
Clearwater, Florida / November 14, 2009
Top 10 men
1. Michael Raelert (GER) 3:34:04
2. Daniel Fontana (ITA) 3:36:44
3. Matthew Reed (USA) 3:37:50
4. Sylvain Sudrie (FRA) 3:38:02
5. Joe Gambles (GBR) 3:38:19
6. Kevin Collington (USA) 3:40:16
7. Luke Bell (AUS) 3:40:16
8. Alberto Casadei (ITA) 3:40:19
9. Leon Griffin (AUS) 3:40:31
10. Brian Fleischmann (USA) 3:41:37
Top 10 women
1. Julie Dibens (GBR) 3:59:33
2. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 4:03:49
3. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:05:27
4. Caroline Steffen (SWI) 4:0533
5. Laura Bennett (USA) 4:07:39
6. Michellie Jones (AUS) 4:08:17
7. Sarah Groff (CAN) 4:09:34
8. Amanda Stevens (USA) 4:13:16
9. Karin Thuerig (SWI) 4:15:04
10. Vanessa Gianinni (BRA) 4:17:57
Michael Raelert was a dark horse who shocked the field and Julie Dibens was the favorite everyone saw coming. Some reflections by the winners and hosannas from the conquered after the fourth Ironman 70.3 World Champions were crowned. 11.18.09
Craig Alexander showed no signs of jet lag as he captured the 2010 Ironman 70.3 Geelong title despite just recently returning from the USA. The women's race was won by Caroline Steffen. 2.06.10
The 2009 Ironman 70.3 World titlist and defending three-time XTERRA World Champion has set her sights on Ironman Hawaii Part 1 of 2 of a conversation with Julie Dibens 3.08.10
Michael Raelert continues to demonstrate that he is King of the 70.3 distance with a dominating win at Switzerland 70.3; Caroline Steffen takes her third 70.3 win of 2010 6.06.10
A few weeks ago Julie Dibens and Mirinda Carfrae had fun with a little online swimming trash talk on twitter and facebook and the Ironman 70.3 World Champions then decided to have a swim off challenge. 9.06.10
Julie Dibens, Michael Raelert, Magali Tisseyre, Daniel Fontana, Angela Naeth, Matt Reed, Leanda Cave and Tim O'Donnell sound off at the IM 70.3 World Championship press conference. 11.12.10
Michael Raelert repeated his Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship title with a superb performance. Jodie Swallow was first out of the water, extended her lead on the bike and then ran to her first 70.3 Worlds title. 11.13.10
Magali Tisseyre broke out of the gate fast with Ironman 70.3 World Championship podiums in her first two years as a professional; now, with 11 wins in 70.3 races, she is primed to rise above an injury-plagued 2013. 2.28.14
Relentless northerly winds force Ironman 70.3 World Championship race officials to switch swim from ocean to inland harbor; Reed, Dibens, Bozzone, Bennetts, Zeiger confident on eve of battle in Clearwater 11.13.09
Timothy Carlson sticks his neck out to predict what will happen in the men's race at at Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida this weekend. Will he be correct with his call? 11.11.09
Gazing into a crystal ball in an attempt to pick the women's winner of this highly competitive Ironman 70.3 World Championship at Clearwater is a futile task. But here we go again 11.11.09
Pro Drafting at Clearwater
Reviewed by: Tom Room, Nov 21 2009 4:08PM
Matt Reed alludes to this in the piece above - everyone knows 10m is not a sufficient gap and the race in it's current format is a running race. I would agree with him. But I will go further, this was an ITU race in disguise. From what I saw of the race, gaps of 10m were not being maintained, the overtaking rule ignored and all of it was sanctioned by the marshals.
In my eyes non-drafting triathlon is dead. As an aspiring pro triathlete racing in the 70.3 World Championships had been a dream. If you gave me a free entry to next years race I would not take part in this race again under the same conditions.
70.3 needs a fundamental overhaul, in my eyes to a time trial format. Otherwise 70.3 Ironman is just ITU Worlds over a slightly longer distance.
If you want to see my thoughts in full please check my website at www.tritom.co.uk or another pro who shares my sentiments is Greg Remaly and his race report can be found here http://gregremaly.blogspot.com/
NEW DRAFTING PENALTIES NEEDED!
Reviewed by: Marty, Nov 18 2009 6:36AM
Bjorns bike split
Reviewed by: Pär, Nov 16 2009 2:59PM
Reviewed by: Herbert, Nov 16 2009 11:38AM
Reviewed by: Neil Hammond, Nov 14 2009 3:12PM