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After a 2 seconds deficit out of the swim, Kastelein quickly took control of the race on the bike and was never headed on his way to an 8:13:28 finish with a 7:11 margin of victory over Ruedi Wild of Switzerland and 13:23 over Swiss competitor Jan Van Berkel.
After 9 wins in 9 tries from 2007 through 2016, Switzerland’s Ronnie Schildknecht suffered a muscle strain on the run and did not finish. Schildknecht took consecutive Ironman Switzerland victories from 2007 through 2013, skipped 2014 and won at Zurich in 2015 and 2016.
The win was Kastelein’s first Ironman victory and comes after an encouraging runner-up finish to training partner Jan Frodeno at Barcelona 70.3 earlier this year.
Kastelein’s finish time was third-fastest in Ironman Switzerland history, behind only Schildknecht’s 8:12:40 finish in 2010 and Olivier Bernhard’s 8:12:27 in 2000.
Schaerer won wire-to-wire, combining a women’s-best 51:45 swim, 3rd-fastest 5:11:00 bike split and women’s-best 3:15:36 marathon to finish in 9:23:02 with a 14:42 margin of victory over Tine Holst of Denmark and 17:06 over fellow Swiss Martina Kunz.
Schaerer thus improved on her 4th place finish at Ironman Switzerland last year and her victory joins her win at 2015 Ironman 70.3 Cozumel and her runner-up finish at 2016 Ironman Vichy in 9:17:21 as career highlights.
Alexander Polizzi of Australia led the swim in 48:16 which gave him a 2 seconds margin over Kastelein, 4 seconds on Harry Wiltshire of Great Britain, 22 seconds on Daniil Sapunov of Ukraine, 25 seconds on Daniel Fontana of Italy, 27 seconds on Wild and 29 seconds on Van Berkel.
By 37 kilometers of the bike leg, Kastelein and Wiltshire broke away to a 3:28 to 3:33 lead on a 5 man pack including Fontana, Sapunov, Wild, Van Berkel and Polizzi with Schildknecht trailing by 6:40 in 11th place. By 62 km, Kastelein dropped Wiltshire and took a 1:42 and 1:48 lead on Wiltshire and fast-charging Cameron Wurf of Australia who was making up for a 3:43 deficit after the swim. Halfway through the 180km bike leg, Wurf closed to within 1:13 of Kastelein while Wiltshire fell 7:15 off the pace and Wild, Fontana Urs Mueller, Van Berkel, Anton Blokhin of Belarus, Samuel Huerzeler of Switzerland and Schildknecht rode in a tight pack 8:25 to 8:32 arrears.
After a 2nd-fastest 4:31:13 bike split, Kastelein arrived at T2 with a 1:10 lead on Wurf (race-best 4:28:06 split), 6:07 on Van Berkel, 6:10 on Schildknecht, 8:15 on Wild, and 8:31 on Huerzeler with Blokhin, Fontana and Sapunov trailing by 11 minutes-plus.
After 6 km of the run, Kastelein shook off Wurf and led by 4:52, with Van Berkel (+6:55), Schildknecht (+7:03) and Wild (+8:42) next in line.
Some time before the halfway point, Schildknecht suffered a cramp induced muscle strain and dropped out.
After 21 km Kastelein led Van Berkel by 7:03, Wild by 8:21, Huerzeler by 12:45 and Fontana by 15:07 with no one making an attack.
After a 2nd-fastest 2:50:24 run, Kastelein finished in 8:13:28 with a 7:11 margin of victory over Wild, who closed with a race-best 2:49:21 run.