Sebastian Kienle of Germany held off fellow German Andi Böcherer by 4:25 and Sarah Crowley of Australia beat Lucy Charles of Great Britain by 3:52 to win the $30,000 top prizes at the Ironman European Championship at Frankfurt.
Kienle emerged from a 4:27 deficit after the swim with a race-best 4:02:22 bike split and a 3rd-fastest 2:45:09 run to finish in 7:41:42, with a 4:25 margin of victory over Böcherer and 8:34 over 3rd place Patrik Nilsson of Sweden.
Kienle’s win was his third at Frankfurt and his second straight – he topped Böcherer by 57 seconds last year. Kienle explained that his early surge on the run was motivated by the pressure Böcherer put on in 2016: “The memories of last year were quite fresh in my mind," he told Ironman.com.
Böcherer was also motivated by his duel with Kienle last year: "I took more risks this year and I think I was closer to Sebastian in the race today although the gap to Sebi was bigger at the end."
Kienle’s winning time was the 4th-fastest Ironman-distance and the 2nd-best Ironman brand performance in history. Kienle’s time was aided by what Ironman.com commentators described as a bike course that was 3 kilometers short of the standard 180-kilometer distance.
Crowley came back from a 7:48 deficit after the swim with a women’s-fastest 4:40:32 bike split and women’s 2nd-best 3:05:12 marathon to finish in 8:47:58, with a 3:52 margin of victory on Charles and 11:57 over 3rd-place finisher Alexandra Tondeur of Belgium.
Crowley’s win came just four weeks after her breakthrough major victory at the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship at Cairns, Australia.
Lukasz Wojt of Germany led the swim in 45:44 which gave him a 1:24 lead on Marko Albert of Estonia, 1:28 on Patrick Lange of Germany, 1:31 on Patrik Nilsson of Sweden, 1:37 on Böcherer, 1:48 on two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Michael Raelert of Germany, 3:11 on James Cunnama of South Africa, 3:12 on Giulio Molinari of Italy, 3:13 on Philip Graves of Great Britain, 3:14 on Ivan Tutukin of Russia, and 3:16 on Bas Diederen of Netherlands. Kienle finished the swim in 21st position – 4:27 back.
After 30 kilometers of the bike leg, Böcherer led Lange by 27 seconds, Wojt by 1:09, Raelert by 2:56, Albert by 2:59, Kienle by 3:02, Nilsson by 3:04, and Cunnama by 3:05.
After 94k, Kienle knifed through the field to second place, just 50 seconds behind Bocherer, who led Lange by 1:53 and Cunnama by 1:55 with Albert, Molinari, Graves, Nilsson, Raelert, Tutukin and Wojt between 4:59 to 5:11 arrears. Late in the bike leg, Raelert suffered leg cramps and withdrew.
After a 2nd-best 4:04:56 bike split, Böcherer had a 9 seconds lead on Kienle, who posted the race-best 4:02:22 bike split. They were followed by Lange (+5:58), Cunnama (+5:59), Albert (+12:48), Molinari (+12:51), and strong runner Nilsson (+12:53).
After 10.4k of the run, Kienle opened a 49 seconds lead on Bocherer, 5:59 on Lange, 6:08 on Cunnama, and 13:30 on Nilsson and Ivan Tutukin of Russia. Halfway through the run, Kienle increased his lead to 1:59 on Böcherer, 7:15 on Cunnama, and 7:43 on Lange with Nilsson and Tutukin 13:44 arrears but ready to unleash strong finishes.
Of all contenders, Kienle was running best with a 1:18:15 half marathon split followed by Nilsson (1:19:24), Tutukin (1:19:25), Cunnama (1:19:59), Lange (1:20:13), and Böcherer (1:20:30) chasing at a hot pace.
After 33km of the run, Kienle showed no signs of weakening, sailing along with a 3:46 lead on Böcherer, 8:09 on Cunnama, 9:24 on Lange, and 11:17 on Nilsson. With 3 kilometers to go, Kienle increase his lead to 4:14 on Bocherer.
Perhaps explaining the gap between his 2016 Ironman World Championship record marathon split and his form at Frankfurt, Lange was assessed a 1 minute penalty because his coach was running at his side too long.
After his 3rd-best 2:45:09 marathon, Kienle finished in 7:41:42 with a 4:25 margin of victory on Böcherer (2:49:48 run), 8:34 on Nilsson (race-best 2:40:58 run split), and 10:20 on Cunnama (2:28:49 run). Tutukin closed hard with a 2:42:40 run to take 5th, 54 seconds behind Cunnama and 10 seconds ahead of Lange (2:49:40 marathon).
Ace swimmer and recent Ironman Lanzarote champion Lucy Charles led the swim in 48:29 which gave her a 4:42 lead on Anja Beranek of Germany, 4:47 on Katja Konschak of Germany, 7:45 on Magali Tisseyre of Canada, 7:48 on Sarah Crowley, 7:52 on Michaela Herlbauer of Austria, and 8:44 on Liz Lyles of the U.S.
At 126km of the bike leg, Charles led Beranek by 4:33, Crowley by 6:44, Herlbauer by 13:59, Sonja Tajsich of Germany by 15:01, Alexandra Tondeur of Belgium by 15:02, and Lyles by 15:08.
After a women’s 2nd-best bike split of 4:45:08, Charles led Crowley (women’s-fastest 4:40:32) by 3:52. Next in line were Beranek (+8:34), Lyles (+15:55), Herlbauer (+15:57), and Tondeur (+16:02).
Kilometer by kilometer, Crowley started chopping away at Charles’ lead. At 10.5 kilometers it was 2:34. At 13.6km Crowley was 1:51 behind Charles, and by 18.2km Charles’ lead was down to 1:03. Halfway through the 42.1 kilometer run, Crowley was just 36 seconds behind. 13.6km Crowley ran the first half in 1:29:18, Charles in 1:32:57. Soon after Crowley made the pass and never looked back. At 33km, Crowley led Charles by 2:33.
After a women's 2nd-fastest 3:05:12 run, Crowley finished in 8:47:58 with a 3:52 margin of victory on Charles (3:13:18 run) and 11:57 on 3rd-place Tondeur (women’s-best 3:04:47 run). Lyles ran 3:07:53 to finish 4th, 2:04 back of Tondeur and 3:10 in front of 5th-place finisher Herlbauer.
Ironman European Championship
July 9, 2017
S 3.8k / B 177k / R 42.1k
1. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:41:42
2. Andi Böcherer (GER) 7:46:07
3. Patrik Nilsson (SWE) 7:50:16
4. James Cunnama (RSA) 7:51:02
5. Ivan Tutukin (RUS) 7:51:56
6. Patrick Lange (GER) 7:52:06
7. Marko Albert (EST) 8:04:08
8. Evert Scheltinga (NED) 8:05:13
9. Giulio Molinari (ITA) 8:12:53
10. Philipp Koutny (SUI) 8:16:43
1. Sarah Crowley (AUS) 8:47:58
2. Lucy Charles (GBR) 8:51:50
3. Alexandra Tondeur (BEL) 8:59:55
4. Liz Lyles (USA) 9:01:59
5. Michaela Herlbauer (AUT) 9:05:09
6. Sonja Tajsich (GER) 9:07:51
7. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS) 9:08:54
8. Anja Beranek (GER) 9:27:43
9. Pamela Tastets (CHL) 9:33:17
10. Shiao-Yu Li (TPE) 9:37:104