Andi Böcherer of Germany and Manon Genet of France won on a rainy day at Pays D’Aix 70.3.
Böcherer combined a 5th-fastest 23:01 swim, a by-far fastest 2:09:44 bike split and a 4th-quickest 1:14:43 half marathon to finish in 3:53:09 with a 5:18 margin of victory over Denis Chevrot of France, who was 16 seconds ahead of 3rd place countryman Kevin Maurel.
“I'm very happy with the race and my form,” said Böcherer. “[My races at] Bushhouses and Aix have shown that I'm on the right track. Especially when running I felt very strong today. They were worlds compared to [my] first race in Gran Canaria.”
Genet put together a women’s 7th-best 26:35 swim that left her a 2:10 deficit, a women’s-best 2:29:45 bike split that advanced her to 1 second behind leader Lisa Hütthaler of Austria, and a women’s-fastest 1:21:12 run that brought her to the finish in 4:24:22 with a 2:46 margin of victory over Hütthaler and 4:02 over 3rd place Fenella Langridge of Great Britain.
Robin Pasteur of France led the swim in 22:07 which gave him a 50 to 60 seconds lead on a pack that included Chevrot, Etienne Diemunsch and Yvan Jarrige of France, Böcherer, Kevin Maurel of France, Mark Buckingham of Great Britain and a trio of Frenchmen - Valentin Rouvier, David Breuer and Adrian Haller. Top French contenders Cyril Viennot (23:11) and former champion Bertrand Billard (23:16) were 12th and 15th.
After a first flat 15 kilometers where a large front pack cruised, Böcherer wasted no time in rocketing to the front at the first hill. By 30 kilometers of the bike leg he held a gap of 1:27 on Maurel, 1:29 on Jarrige, 1:38 on Billard, and 2:50 to 2:57 on a sextet that included Chevrot, Haller, Viennot, Diemunsch, Breuer and Pasteur.
"I did not attack,” Böcherer said. “But just switched to my climbing mode. And so I left the others unexpectedly early and clear."
Through 60 kilometers, Böcherer held a 3 minutes lead on a chase group that included Maurel, Billard and Jarrige. A second chase group including Marcus Herbst of Germany, Haller and Breuer were 3:20 arrears.
By the end of the bike leg, Böcherer earned a 6 minute lead with a race-best 2:09:44 split which was 5 minutes better than the next-best effort by Marcus Herbst of Germany. "I was lucky down the long hill that I was able to take the first difficult turns just as the rain started,” Böcherer stated in a release by his sponsor. "Then it really started."
Starting the run, Böcherer held a 6:19 lead on Maurel, 6:21 on Herbst, 6:25 on Haller, 7:15 on Buckingham, 7:21 on Diemunsch, 7:39 on Breuer, 8:23 on Viennot, 8:28 on Chevrot, and 8:31 on Pasteur.
After 5 kilometers of the run, Böcherer held a 6:17 lead on Maurel, 6:56 on Herbst, 7:43 on Buckingham, and 8:14 on Diemunsch and Chevrot.
"When I was running I felt really good and also started a fast pace,” Böcherer stated. "At some point I got from my coach Lubos Bilek the announcement to take [off] a little bit of speed and so could wind down the last few kilometers pretty stress-free.”
At 14km, Böcherer held steady with a 6:21 margin on Maurel, but Chevrot was on the move and pared his deficit to 6:45 in third.
After a 4th-fastest 1:14:43 run, Böcherer finished in 3:53:09 with a 5:18 margin of victory over Chevrot, who closed with a race-best 1:11:34 half marathon. After a third-best 1:13:54 run, Maurel took the final spot on the podium, 16 seconds behind Chevrot. After a second-quickest 1:13:44 run, Buckingham took 4th, 40 seconds behind Maurel.
Fenella Langridge of Great Britain led the women’s swim wave in 24:25, one second ahead of Camille Donat of France, 1:31 ahead of Maria Czesnik of Poland, 1:54 ahead of Mikaela Persson of Sweden, 1:59 ahead of Lisa Hütthaler of Austria, 2:06 ahead of Sonia Bracegirdle of New Zealand, 2:10 ahead of Genet, and 3:45 ahead of Lucy Gossage of Great Britain.
After 30.8 kilometers on the bike leg, Langridge held a 10 and 11 seconds lead on Hütthaler and Genet, and 2:05 to 2:17 on Gossage, Czesnik and Bracegirdle. By 57 kilometers, Genet took the lead by 3 seconds on Hütthaler, 2:01 on Langridge, 3:17 on Gossage, and 4:51 on Persson.
After a women’s-fastest 2:29:45 bike split, Genet arrived at T2 just one second behind Hütthaler (2:30:18 bike split), 3:25 ahead of Langridge, 4:56 ahead of Gossage, and 7:24 ahead of Persson.
After 10km of the run, Genet accelerated into a 1:20 lead on Hütthaler, 2:15 on Langridge and 6 minutes on Gossage. After a women’s-quickest 1:21:12 half marathon, Genet finished in 4:24:22 with a 2:46 margin on runner-up Hütthaler (1:24:00 run) and 4:02 on 3rd place Langridge (1:22:00 run). After a 1:23:41 run, Gossage took 4th, 7:22 behind the winner.
Ironman 70.3 Pays D’Aix
Aix en Provence, France
May 13, 2018
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Andreas Böcherer (GER) 3:53:09 S 23:01 T1 3:12 B 2:09:44 T2 2:31 R 1:14:43
2. Denis Chevrot (FRA) 3:58:27 S 22:57 T1 3:13 B 2:18:15 T2 2:31 R 1:11:34
3. Kevin Maurel (FRA) 3:58:43 S 23:02 T1 2:54 B 2:16:20 T2 2:36 R 1:13:54
4. Mark Buckingham (GBR) 3:59:23 S 23:04 T1 3:21 B 2:16:46 T2 2:29 R 1:13:44
5. Marcus Herbst (GER) 3:59:45 S 24:33 T1 2:53 B 2:14:52 T2 2:21 R 1:15:08
6. Cyril Viennot (FRA) 4:01:23
7. David Breuer (GER) 4:03:36
8. Robin Pasteur (FRA) 4:07:01
9. Ashley Hurdman (GBR) 4:07:11
10. Albert Moreno Molins (ESP) 4:07:27
1. Manon Genet (FRA) 4:24:22 S 26:35 T1 4:00 B 2:29:45 T2 2:53 R 1:21:12
2. Lisa Hütthaler (AUT) 4:27:08 S 26:24 T1 3:36 B 2:30:18 T2 2:53 R 1:24:00
3. Fenella Langridge (GBR) 4:28:24 S 24:25 T1 3:13 B 2:36:06 T2 2:43 R 1:22:00
4. Lucy Gossage (GBR) 4:31:44 S 28:10 T1 3:19 B 2:33:40 T2 2:56 R 1:23:41
5. Sonia Bracegirdle (NZL) 4:40:59 S 26:31 T1 3:50 B 2:39:11 T2 3:12 R 1:28:17
6. Maria Czesnik (POL) 4:42:34
7. Karen Schultheiss (SUI) 4:47:41
8. Mikaela Perssin (SWE) 4:49:11
9. Camille Donat (FRA) 4:52:42