Abraham, Schmid win IM Cozumel

Corinne Abraham closed out her 2015 season with a bang and a big win in Cozumel. Stefan Schmid also had a stellar day and grabbed the men's title at the 2015 IRONMAN Cozumel.

The women

Swiss pro Celine Schaerer was first out of the water in 47:18, with Leanda Cave just a few seconds behind her. About 1.5 minutes later Camilla Pedersen led a group of athletes out of the water that included Dede Griesbauer, Emma-Kate Lidbury, Karen Thibodeau, Carolin Lehrieder, and Heather Wurtele. Corinne Abraham on the other hand was 6:31 back after that opening swim.

Once on the bikes Schaerer and Thibodeau soon fell back, but that still left 6 athletes at the front of the race and at the halfway point these 6 were still riding together. With some hard riding, Abraham gained about 2 minutes and was now riding at 4:29. The front running 6 pros continued riding together, but after the 120k mark the elastic band snapped and Griesbauer and Lehrieder fell back. Abraham meanwhile was riding in 5th position but reached T2 in 4th place with a race best 5:01:15 bike split. 3:09 ahead of her, Lidbury reached the bike-run transition first, followed by Cave and Wurtele about a minute later. Pedersen reached T2 right around 20 seconds behind Abraham.

Lidbury held on to the lead for a while but at 14k Cave moved to the front and Abraham was now less than 1 minute behind in third place. At 21k, Abraham was running in the lead with Pedersen in 2nd place and Cave in 3rd almost 2 minutes back. Abraham extended that lead to just about 7 minutes, thanks to a race best 3:07:38 run. Cave pulled away from Pedersen to finish second. Wurtele finished fourth and Lidbury fifth.

The men

American Barrett Brandon was the fastest pro man in the water and emerged from that point-to-point swim in the Mexican Riviera in 43:18. Italian Ivan Risti was next in 43:52, and he was closely followed by Swede Patrik Nilsson and Tyler Butterfield. All other pros started the bike segment with at least a 3 minute disadvantage.

Brandon hung on to the lead for a while but he soon had Nilsson breathing down his neck. A bit further back German Stefan Schmid also was on the throttle and steadily moving towards the front. Before too long he joined Nilsson at the front and these 2 Europeans dictated the pace. Towards the end of the bike segment, Schmid pulled away from Nilsson and reached T2 with a race best 4:26:55 and about a 40-second margin over the Swede. Michael Weiss was next, 5:30 adrift, and Matt Russell and Trevor Wurtele followed at 7:39 and 10:42 respectively. Chris McDonald, Matt Hanson and Tyler Butterfield were more than 25 minutes behind after the bike segment.

Thanks to a speedy transition by Nilsson, the two front-running European athletes were soon together again. At the halfway point of the run the two were still together, but now Matt Russell was running in third place. Schmid soon dropped Nilsson and Russell moved past the Swede into second place. But there was no stopping Schmid, and the German crossed the line in first place in a time of 8:12:27. Russell ran a race best 2:47:49 but that was only good enough for the runner-up spot on this day. Nilsson ended up not finishing and Barrett Brandon hung tough to finish fourth.

Cozumel, Mexico / November 29, 2015
2.4m swim / 112m bike / 26.2m run

Top women

1. Corinne Abraham (GBR) 9:06:40
2. Leanda Cave (GBR) 9:13:29
3. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 9:14:08
4. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 9:21:52
5. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 9:29:18

Top men

1. Stefan Schmid (GER) 8:12:27
2. Matt Russell (USA) 8:14:10
3. Michael Weiss (AUT) 8:24:24
4. Barrett Brandon (USA) 8:35:11
5. Raul Tejada (GUA) 8:39:14