Home country favorite Vanessa Fernandes came from behind to win her first Ironman 70.3 and Denis Chevrot of France unleashed a race-best run to prevail at Cascais, Portugal.
Fernandes overcame an 8:30 deficit after the bike leg with a by-far women's-fastest 1:21:09 half marathon to finish in 4:33:12 with a 50 seconds margin of victory over Sarah Loehr Muñoz of Spain and 3:30 over 3rd place finisher Sylvia Gehnboeck of Austria.
Fernandes, who set a mark for most consecutive ITU World Cup wins, won the ITU World Championship in 2007 as well as the 2008 Olympic silver medal, took a break from elite triathlon for health reasons from 2011 through 2015. Fernandes has been mixing running road races, some cycling events and has tried a few 70.3 events in 2016 and 2017.
Chevrot swam 24:24, biked 2:10:40 and ran 1:14:49 to finish in 3:55:02 with a 2:43 margin of victory over Philipp Koutny of Switzerland and 20:35 over 3rd place finisher Bruno Pais of Portugal.
Anne Thoren of Sweden led the women’s swim in 26:10, which gave her a 2:13 lead on 2008 Olympic silver medalist Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal, 2:17 on Julie Stephan of France, 2:18 on Saleta Castro of Spain, 2:21 on Sarah Loehr Muñoz of Spain, 2:46 on Sarah Lewis of Great Britain, and 5:26 on Sylvia Gehnboeck of Austria.
After 26km of the bike leg, Thoren increased her lead to 4:03 on Loehr Muñoz, 4:26 on Lewis, 4:39 on Fernandes and 5:37 on Castro.
After cresting the large hill at 75 km, Thoren held a 4:52 lead on Gehnboeck, 6:09 on Loehr Muñoz, 9:41 on Lewis, 10:52 on Castro and a few more minutes on Fernandes. Some time before the finish of the 90km bike leg., Thoren received a penalty which at T2 put her 1:42 behind Gehnboeck, who posted the women's-fastest 2:26:34 bike split, followed by Loehr Muñoz (+2:51) Castro (+6:54) and Fernandes (+8:30).
After 10km of the run, Loehr Muñoz took over the lead by 14 seconds on Gehnboeck, 1:27 on Thoren, 2:58 on Fernandes and 6:32 on Castro.
At the 16km mark, Loehr Muñoz led a swiftly surging Fernandes by 1:07, Gehnboeck by 1:36 and Thoren by 2:38. On her way to a dominating 1:21:09 run split, Fernandes took over the lead at the 19km mark. Fernandes wrapped it up with a 4:33:12 finish which gave her a 50 seconds margin of victory over Loehr Muñoz (1:27:00 run) and 3:30 over 3rd place finisher Gehnboeck (1:34:36 run).
Denis Chevrot of France led the pro men’s swim in 24:24, which gave him a 45 seconds lead on Philipp Koutny of Switzerland, 1:10 on Ivan Tejero of Spain, 1:50 on Bruno Pais of Portugal and 2:40 on Jordi Pascual Sales of Spain.
After 26km of the bike leg, Koutny held a 2 seconds lead on Chevrot, 5:25 on Tejero, 5:28 on Pais, 5:29 on Carlos Cruz of Portugal, 5:54 on Kevin Sleegers of Netherlands, 6:31 on Tiaan Swart of South Africa and 8:29 on Pascual Sales. After a steep climb from to 75 km, Koutny and Chevrot reached the top together with an 11 minutes lead on Pais.
At T2, Koutny (2:12:44 bike split) led Chevrot (2:10:40 bike split) by 4 seconds and the rest of the field was left arrears by at least 4 kilometers - Pais by 13:02, Javier Molina of Spain by 14:12, and Sleegers by 14:32.
After the first kilometer of the run, Chevrot led Koutny by 1 second, Pais by 13:18 and Tejero by 17:10. At 10km, Chevrot led Koutny by 50 seconds and the rest were out of hope – Pais 16:33 arrears and Tejero trailing by 22:34.
Chevrot crossed the line after a race-best 1:14:49 run in 3:55:02 with a 2:43 margin of victory over Koutny and 20:35 over 3rd place finisher Pais.
Ironman 70.3 Cascais
September 3, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 4:33:12
2. Sarah Loehr Muñoz (ESP) 4:34:02
3. Sylvia Gehnboeck (AUT) 4:36:42
4. Annie Thoren (SWE) 4:37:47
5. Saleta Castro (ESP) 4:39:33
1. Denis Chevrot (FRA) 3:55:02
2. Philipp Koutny (SUI) 3:57:45
3. Bruno Pais (POR) 4:15:36
4. Ivan Tejero (ESP) 4:22:42
5. Mathias Verniau (FRA) 4:26:27