Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain and Anne Haug of Germany ran away from their pro rivals to take the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 Dubai.
Haug overcame a 3:37 deficit to 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Holly Lawrence after the bike, then blew past Kimberley Morrison and Lawrence with a sizzling 1:14:11 run. Haug finished in 4:00:25 with a 4:54 margin of victory over fast-closing Sarah Lewis of Great Britain and 7:11 over 3rd place finisher Lawrence.
Brownlee and Haug are now the only competitors eligible for the fourth edition of the Sheik Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown series which awards $1 million to triathletes who win all three qualifying races - the Dubai 70.3, Ironman 70.3 Worlds and the Bahrain 70.3 in the same year.
Johann Ackermann of Germany edged Alistair Brownlee by one second in the swim, followed by Eric Watson of Bahrain (+2s), Jesper Svensson of Sweden (+4s), Nicholas Kastelein of Australia (+7s), Maurice Clavel of Germany (+9s), and Sven Riederer of Switzerland (+12s).
By 22 km of the bike leg. Brownlee took control, earning a 1:20 lead on Riederer, 1:22 on Manuel Kueng of Switzerland, 1:23 on Ackermann, 1:26 on Clavel, 1:28 on Svensson, and :32 on Kastelein. Notables Eneko Llanos of Spain and Ruedi Wild of Switzerland Wild trailed by 3:35.
After a race-best 1:58:50 bike split and transition, Brownlee led Riederer and Clavel by 3:59, Svensson by 4:00, Ackermann by 4:13 and a pack of eight including Kastelein, Schildknecht, Bertrand Billard of France, Wild, Eric Watson and Niclas Bock by 6:11 through 6:50.
After 10.3 kilometers of the run, Brownlee expanded his lead to 4:51 over Riederer, 4:51 over Clavel, 6:03 over Svensson, 7:18 over Wild, 7:29 over Ilia Prasolov, 7:47 over Ackermann, 8:12 over Billard and 8:30 over Schildknecht.
After a race-best 1:09:34 half marathon, Brownlee broke the tape in 3:35:30 with a 6:35 margin of victory over Riederer (1:12:11 run), 7:12 over Wild (1:10:12 run) and 8:08 over 4th place Clavel (1:13:43 run).
After pulling out of the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Holly Lawrence returned to form with a 3rd at the Island House Invitational Triathlon and a win at the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship in Bahrain.
Lawrence opened her 2018 campaign in Dubai with a race-best 23:56 swim that gave her a 1:54 lead on Ellie Salthouse of Australia, 1:56 on long time ITU Olympic distance star Anne Haug, 2:16 on Agnieszka Jerzyk of Poland, 2:17 on Sarah Lewis of Great Britain, 2:21 on Kimberley Morrison of Great Britain, 5:13 on Nikki Bartlett of Great Britain and 5:18 in Asa Lundstrom of Sweden.
Halfway through the 90 kilometer bike ride through the nearby desert, Lawrence held a 1:59 lead on Morrison, 3:16 on Haug, 3:19 on Salthouse and 3:22 on Sarah Lewis.
After a women’s-best 2:14:00 bike split, Lawrence hit T2 with a 2:31 lead on Morrison (2:14:13 bike split), 3:37 on Haug, 3:41 on Salthouse and 3:48 on Lewis.
Halfway through the half marathon, Haug zoomed past Lawrence. At 10.3 km Haug led Lawrence by 25 seconds, Lewis by 2:29, Salthouse by 3:19 and Morrison by 4:08.
After a by-far women's-best 1:14:11 run, Haug finished in 4:00:25 with a 4:54 margin of victory on Lewis (1:18:42 run), 7:11 on 3rd-place Lawrence (1:25:01 run) and 10:46 on 4th place Salthouse (1:24:49 run).
Ironman 70.3 Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
February 2, 2018
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 3:35:30
2. Sven Riederer (SUI) 3:42:05
3. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 3:42:42
4. Maurice Clavel (GER) 3:43:38
5. Nicholas Kastelein (AUS) 3:44:19
6. Ilia Prasolov (RUS) 3:45:35
7. Jesper Svensson (SWE) 3:45:41
8. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) 3:47:08
9. Bertrand Billard (FRA) 3:47:10
10. Kevin Maurel (FRA) 3:47:53
1. Anne Haug (GER) 4:00:25
2. Sarah Lewis (GBR) 4:05:19
3. Holly Lawrence (GBR) 4:07:36
4. Ellie Salthouse (AUS) 4:11:11
5. Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL) 4:15:16
6. Kimberley Morrison (GBR) 4:16:20
7. Nikki Bartlett (GBR) 4:20:19
8. Asa Lundstrom (SWE) 4:23:18
9. Minna Koistinen (FIN) 4:24:28
10. Annah Watkinson (RSA) 4:31:53