Andy Potts took the win at the 2012 Ironman 70.3 St. Croix but had to catch Lance Armstrong to do so. Angela Naeth stormed to the women's title in course record time of 4:28:12 despite a flat late in the bike segment.
No one was really surprised when Andy Potts emerged first from the beautiful water of St. Croix after a 24:29 swim, and he had Stephane Poulat from France right with him. The lead pack of men followed about 1:15 later and in that group were Frederik Van Lierde, Terenzo Bozzone and Lance Armstrong.
Poulat pushed hard on the bike and moved into the lead but could not really shake Potts. Behind them though Armstrong dropped all the other Pros near him and started to gain on the leaders. Poulat crested the infamous Beast climb around mile 20 first, but Armstrong had pulled himself with 12 seconds of the French Pro, and Potts was close too. These three Pros then pretty much stayed together until around mile 40 and had distanced the other competitors by quite a bit. Armstrong then pulled away most likely figuring that he would need a bit of breathing room on the run. When he reached the bike-run transition he had almost 2 minutes in the bank thanks to his race best 2:16:09 bike split.
During the first half of the run Armstrong held the pursuers at bay and they were only able to gain a few seconds, but Potts put on the afterburners around that time and caught the Texan around mile 8. Poulat also reeled in Armstrong and managed to pull away. No one though was going to stop Andy Potts on this day as the Colorado resident ran a fantastic 1:19:20 to take the title in 4:03:31. Poulat held on to second place and Armstrong rounded out the podium. Alessandro Degasperi's 1:19:12 proved to be the day's best and helped the Italian Pro to move past Terenzo Bozzone for fourth place.
Nina Kraft and Mary-Beth Ellis led the female field out of the water and they had a 2:40 advantage over a small group that contained Sara Gross and Angela Naeth.
Naeth though was fastest on the bike and managed a race best 2:33:08 bike split despite riding on a flat tire the final few miles. Ellis was almost 5 minutes slower on the bike, but she in return had put that kind of distance on the other Pros chasing her. Kraft for example was 10 minutes slower than Ellis and still managed to reach T2 in third position.
Naeth started the run about 2 minutes up on Ellis but quickly added even more time to her lead. Half way through the run she had a comfortable 4 minute advantage and from there on she was able to throttle it back a bit. Naeth's 1:25:18 race best run split 4:28:12 total time gave her not only the title but also the course record of this prestigious event. Ellis finished second and Sara Gross finished third.
Ironman 70.3 St. Croix
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands / May 6, 2012
1.2m swim / 56m bike / 13.1m run
1. Andy Potts (USA) 4:03:31
2. Stephane Poulat (FRA) 4:05:25
3. Lance Armstrong (USA) 4:07:08
4. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 4:08:53
5. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 4:10:04
6. Oscar Galindez (ARG) 4:12:31
7. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 4:15:41
8. Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 4:16:41
9. Andres Castillo 4:16:48
10. Eliot Holtham (CAN) 4:24:59
1. Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:28:12
2. Mary-Beth Ellis (USA) 4:33:34
3. Sara Gross (CAN) 4:46:33
4. Nina Kraft (GER) 4:47:44
5. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 4:47:51
6. Kim Loeffler (USA) 4:49:24
7. Jenny Fletcher (USA) 4:59:40
8. Stephanie Jones (USA) 5:01:01
9. Marie Danais (CAN) 5:01:50
10. Karen Smyers (USA) 5:08:07