Jesse Thomas of the U.S. scored an upset win over Kona champion Jan Frodeno of Germany and Tine Holst of Denmark held off the Belgium’s Alexandra Tondeur to win Ironman Lanzarote.
Thomas began the day in 9th place, 4:08 behind swim leader Stephen Bayliss and 4:03 behind heavy favorite Jan Frodeno. After his 3rd-fastest 4:58:33 split over the hilly, challenging Lanzarote bike course, Thomas advanced to 5th, 3:10 behind bike leader Johann Ackermann of Germany and 1:02 behind Frodeno. On the run, Frodeno took the lead from Ackermann in the first 5 kilometers while Thomas advanced past Ivan Raña and David McNamee to take 2nd place by kilometer 15, 1:47 behind the leader. On his way to a race-best run, Thomas steadily made up ground and passed Frodeno in the 26th kilometer. After his 2:46:56 marathon run - 3:07 better than Frodeno – Thomas finished in 8:42:33 with a 2:05 margin of victory over Frodeno and 4:03 over 3rd-place David McNamee of Great Britain.
While his win over the 2008 Olympic champion, the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and Ironman World Champion was an upset, Thomas’ performance was not a total shock. His streak of six-straight Wildflower wins and course record win at the extremely difficult Ironman Wales course marked the Bend, Oregon resident as an elite contender on any truly difficult course.
“I'm over the moon,” Thomas told Ironman.com. “This was the peak of my early season. I knew it would be super difficult here. It just came together.”
Frodeno offered a tip of the hat to Thomas on Twitter: "Thanks for the master class in pacing @jessethomas!"
Chris Baird of the U.S. took 4th, one of his best performances which included the day’s best 4:57:27 bike split and 2nd-best 2:47:54 run. Baird finished 6:02 behind Thomas, 1:34 ahead of 5th-place Ivan Raña of Spain and 4:12 ahead of 6th place Timo Bracht of Germany.
Ironman rookie Lucy Charles of Great Britain started like a house afire as her 47:11 swim gave her a 7:37 lead over Saleta Castro of Spain, 9:40 over defending Lanzarote champion Diana Riesler of Germany, 11:42 over Caroline Livesey of Great Britain, 14:04 over excellent cyclist Holst of Denmark and 15:49 over top cyclist-runner Alexandra Tondeur of Belgium.
By 40km, Charles maintained a 7:23 lead on Riesler, 8:03 on Castro, 10:44 on Livesey and 11:24 on Holst. After her women’s-best 5:34:25 bike split which was 5:54 better than Riesler, 8:11 better than Tondeur, 10:57 better than Livesey and 14:11 better than Charles, Holst was a close second at T2.
After 10km of the run, Holst led Lucy Charles by 3:22, Riesler by 3:41 while Tondeur was making up tons of ground on her way to a women’s-best marathon. By 15km, Riesler took over 2nd, 3:59 back of the Dane, Charles fell to 3rd, 4:32 behind, and Tondeur charged into 4th, having whittled her deficit to 6:56.
Charles halted her fall and was running side by side with Riesler at 20 km, 4:45 behind Holst while Tondeur continued to slice her deficit to 5:55. By 30km, Tondeur took over 2nd place, 4:09 behind the leader while Charles (+4:59) took 3rd from Riesler (+5:55), who was suffering from cramps.
By the finish, Tondeur’s women's-best 3:10:26 marathon brought her home 2nd, 2:18 behind Holst (3:19:48 run). Charles held on to the final spot on the podium with a women’s 4th-fastest 3:27:40 run and Riesler survived the cramping with a 3:40:02 run that gave her 4th place, 14:39 behind Charles.
The win was Holst’s first Ironman title, coming after a 2nd at Ironman Vichy last year and 4th place at 2015 Ironman Wales.
Canary Island, Spain
May 21, 2016
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Jesse Thomas (USA) 8:42:33
2. Jan Frodeno (GER) 8:44:38
3. David McNamee (GBR) 8:46:36
4. Chris Baird (USA) 8:48:35
5. Ivan Raña (ESP) 8:50:09
6. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:52:47
7. Miquel Blanchart Tintó (ESP) 8:58:21
8. Roman Deisenhofer (GER) 9:02:33
9. Diego Van Looy (BEL) 9:11:22
10. Erik-Simon Strijk (NED) 9:13:56
1. Tine Holst (DEN) 10:02:35
2. Alexandra Tondeur (BEL) 10:04:53
3. Lucy Charles (GBR) 10:10:13
4. Diana Riesler (GER) 10:24:52
5. Caroline Livesey (GBR) 10:28:32
6. Alyssa Godesky (USA) 10:32:40