It is rare these days in triathlon when the winning edge is determined by the swim. But Ironman 70.3 Peru was the exception which disproved the rule Saturday as Andy Potts and Heather Jackson prevailed in hard fought battles in the southern hemisphere.
Four-time world champion Leanda Cave of Great Britain led the swim in 26:13 which gave her a 43 seconds advantage over Heather Jackson, 1:37 on Linsey Corbin of the U.S., 1:45 on Pamela Tastets of Chile, 2:16 on Nicole Valentine of the U.S., 2:21 on Sarah Cameto of the U.S. and, important to the ultimate result, 4:42 on strong cyclist-runner Sarah Piampiano of the U.S. who trailed Jackson by 3:59.
By 67km, Jackson forged a 3:06 lead on Piampiano, 4:13 on Cave and 4:20 on Corbin. After a 2nd-best 2:17:26 bike split – which gave back 38 seconds to Piampiano who posted a women’s-best 2:16:48 ride. Starting the half marathon, Jackson had a 3:31 lead on Piampiano, 5:20 on Corbin and 5:57 on Cave.
Halfway through the run, Jackson maintained a 4:06 lead on Piampiano, 5:02 on Corbin and more on a fading Cave. After a women’s 3rd-fastest 1:25:14 half marathon, Jackson hit the tape in 4:12:41 with a 2:57 margin of victory over Piampiano (women’s 2nd-best 1:24:39 run split (and 4:17 on Corbin (women's-best 1:24:07 run). Cave ran 1:28:12 to take 4th, 9:20 after the winner.
Like Jesse Thomas, Piampiano had better bike (2:16:48 to 2:17:26) and run (1:24:39 to 1:25:14) splits but lost her race in the swim (30:55 to 26:56).
The win puts Jackson back on the winning track in 2017 after a 4th place at Ironman 70.3 California.
Andy Potts led the men’s swim in 23:21, which gave him 2 and 4 seconds on Chileans Felipe Barraza and Felipe de Wyngard, 5 seconds on Stuart Hayes of Great Britain, 10 seconds on Ivan Raña of Spain, 46 seconds on Fernando Toldi and a not impossible-to-make-up 1:20 gap on Jesse Thomas of the U.S.
After 36km of the bike leg, Potts led, then surrendered the lead to Wyngard, and then retook the lead with Wyngard and Barazza seconds back while Hayes lost touch with the leaders in 4th. While Thomas fell 2:10 arrears early on the ride, he pushed himself back into range with a 1:32 deficit.
At 67 km, Wyngard retook the lead, trailed closely by Barazza and Potts while Thomas, riding solo, maintained a minute gap. After a 3rd-best 2:03:59 bike split, Potts arrived at T2 followed closely by Barazza (2:04:04 bike split) and Wyngard (2:03:57). Thomas, after a race-best 2:02:26 ride, began the run with a one minute deficit.
After 5km of the run, Potts was shadowed closely by Barazza (+1s), with Wyngard (+1:02) and Thomas (+1:16 next in line. Halfway through the 21km run, Potts led Thomas by 42 seconds, Barazza by 1:19 and Wyngard fading to 4th, 2:12 arrears.
By 15km, Thomas inched to within 33 seconds of Potts. In a battle of ages, Thomas holds the advantage 37 to 40 years of age. After a 2nd-fastest 1:14:43 run split, Potts finished in 3:44:53 with a 28 seconds margin of victory over Thomas (race-best 1:14:00 run) and 3:54 over 3rd-place Van de Wyngard (1:18:33 run split).
Proving the swim is not irrelevant, Thomas posted better bike (2:02:28 to 2:03:59) and run (1:14:00 to 1:14:43) legs but Potts prevailed thanks to superiority on the swim (23:21 to 24:41)
Potts is back on the winning track in 2017 after a 2nd at San Juan 70.3 and 5th at Oceanside 70.3. Potts’ 7:55:12 for 2nd place at Ironman Western Australia last December bodes well for his end of the season goal race at Kona.
Ironman 70.3 Peru
April 23, 2017
S 1.2 mi/. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:12:41
2. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 4:15:38
3. Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:16:58
4. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:22:01
5. Nicole Valentine (USA) 4:26:58
1. Andy Potts (USA) 3:44:53
2. Jesse Thomas (USA) 3:45:21
3. Felipe De Wyngard (CHL) 3:48:47
4. Felipe Barazza (CHL) 3:51:16
5. Raul Tejada (GTM) 3:52:38
8. Justin Daerr (USA) 3:58:36
10. Ivan Raña (ESP) 4:01:28