New Records and a GERMAN Sweep of the podium

Today was a better day than yesterday in Lahti, Finland, if you were a spectator trying to view the men's edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, and if you were Outside Watch trying to broadcast the race. There was zero fog, the waters were calm, and the race conditions almost ideal.

The swimmers were in a tight pack for the first kilometer, with no separation. Inside that long line of swimmers Kristian Blummenfelt's performance was below his standard while Sam Long and Lionel Sanders had great swims, which is the conclusion you draw when all 3 come out in close proximity to one another. Sanders and Long ran up out of the swim together, around 2min back. Überswimmer Ben Kanute led out onto the bike.

The course was tight early on, opening up about 14 kilometers into the bike leg. But then the rain began and the conditions in general made avoiding drafting penalties tricky.

A heavily-raced – probably over-raced but enjoying platinum frequent flyer status as a consolation – Blummenfelt gradually moved up from 20th place to 13th by kilometer-28, while Germans riders occupied 5 of the top 6 places.

By 50k frontrunner Ben Kanute was reeled in. Still in touch, about 2:30 back, was a pack that included Sanders, Long, and Blummenfelt.

The leaders entered T2 after only 2 hours and 20 minutes of racing. Whether the bike leg was a full 56 miles we do not yet know (pending reading the post-race files from GPS head units) but bike splits were in the mid-1:50s and it wasn't that awfully long ago, in the Starykowicz era, that we saw our first-ever sub-2hr bike splits.

In a display of good course design the run began by circling a track. (Very scenic.) Twenty-two year old German Rico Bogen put in a dig about 2K into the run to forge a lead. He would not falter and presided over a German sweep of the podium. Bogen's time of 3:32:22 was a 70.3 World Championship record, helped by a wetsuit swim in calm waters and an ultra-fast (perhaps too fast for the distance) bike leg.

Lionel Sanders was DQd for crossing the centerline during the bike leg. A reportedly irate Sanders was said to have foresworn future IRONMAN racing as a result; time will tell whether that was a heat of the moment statement or whether that referee's decision will impact Sanders' race calendar future.

1. Rico Bogen (DEU) 3:32:22 (22:52 - 1:56:17 - 1:11:02)
2. Frederic Funk (DEU) 3:33:26 (23:10 - 1:55:14 - 1:12:21)
3. Jan Stratmann (DEU) 3:34:11 (23:02 - 1:55:56 - 1:12:40)
4. Mathis Margirier (FRA) 3:35 (23:01 - 1:55:43 - 1:13:59)
5. Joshua Lewis (GBR) 3:36:45 (23:03 - 1:56:14 - 1:15:12)