Bracht breaks record, Joyce wins first

Timo Bracht grabbed the win and broke the course record at the Ironman Lanzarote Canarias in a time of 8:30:34. Rachel Joyce led from start to finish to take her first Ironman title.

The men

Konstantin Bachor was first out of the water with about a 1:20 lead over fellow German Pro Timo Bracht, but after those two the gaps were really quite large.

Bracht made up a bit of time in transition and was on the bike just about a minute the race leader. Bachor though steadily pulled away with the fastest bike split of the day in 4:47 and by the time the two leaders reached the bike-run transition Bracht was 4 minutes behind. Victor Morales was next several minutes later. Bachor though looked like he might have overextended himself on the bike and started the run not looking so fresh.

It didn't take Bracht very long to reel in Bachor and 20k into the run Bracht not only had made up the 4 minutes, but he was now 2 minutes ahead and moving further away from the longtime race leader. By 30k his lead was 6 minutes over Bachor and 19 minutes over Esben Hovgaard and by the time he hit the finish line, the Team Commerzbank Pro not only had the win but also the new course record in 8:30:34. Bracht shattered the previous best of Thomas Hellriegel by 5 minutes and with his win at Ironman Arizona last fall it really seems he is on a roll. Bachor although slowing down held on to second place.

"This is a classic race, one big loop on the bike, pushing all day long. I felt good the whole day, and on the run I started aggressive and fast with a 1:20 first half marathon," said Bracht to slowtwitch. "Then I controlled the pace and in the end it was a incredible feeling to win and to break the record from Thomas Hellriegel nearly 15 years ago."

The women

Brit Rachel Joyce was a late entry into Ironman Lanzarote but it didn't take her very long to take the lead. Joyce had a great swim and reached the swim-bike transition first.

Joyce also looked very solid on the bike but for a while it appeared as if Natascha Badmann might really give her a run for the money. The 6x Ironman World Champion had made up time on the Brit and got as close as 4 minutes, but soon after Joyce started to pull away again and reached T2 with a comfortable margin of more than 5 minutes.

From there Joyce ran to a superb win and her first Ironman title. For a while it looked like she might break the women's record of 9:24:39, but in the end her fine time of 9:28:12 was shy of that time but sufficient for a dominating win. Badmann finished second and Karina Ottosen rounded out the podium.

"It felt great to get my first Ironman win. My swim felt really relaxed and then onto the bike, I felt like I was riding strong but it's always hard to know as I had no idea of the time gap to the rest of field. I knew Natascha would be chasing hard though! The climbs up to Haria and Mirador del Rio were tough and I ran out of gears too early," said Joyce to slowtwitch. "On the run I felt very relaxed again and I deliberately went out at a good pace as I saw Natascha wasn't too far back, and so psychologically I wanted to put some time into her early on. I still cannot believe I got the new run course record - I have my coach Matt Dixon to thank for that - I ran nearly half an hour quicker than I did here two years ago!"

Ironman Lanzarote Canarias
Lanzarote, Spain / May 21, 2011
2.4m swim / 112m bike / 26.2m run

Top men

1. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:30:34
2. Konstantin Bachor (GER) 8:44:30
3. Esben Hovgaard (DEN) 8:54:37
4. Joel Jameson (GBR) 9:01:49
5. Nicholas Ward Munoz (GBR) 9:02:45
6. Gregorio Morales (ESP) 9:03:46
7. Christian Nitschke (GER) 9:05:34
8. Rafael Wyss (SUI) 9:05:41
9. Sam Gyde (BEL) 9:13:44 * AG M35-39
10. Aleksandar Sorensen-Markovic (DEN) 9:17:28

Top women

1. Rachel Joyce (GBR) 9:28:12
2. Natascha Badmann (SUI) 9:43:40
3. Karina Ottosen (DEN) 10:10:15
4. Heidi Jesberger (GER) 10:28:33
5. Emma Ruth Smith (GBR) 10:31:08
6. Angela Niklaus (SUI) 10:34:05 * AG W30-34
7. Sophie Van Biervliet (BEL) 10:45:57 * AG W40-44
8. Nicole Woysch (GER) 10:52:02
9. Lisa Greenfield (GBR) 10:52:20 * AG W35-39
10. Marie Protat (FRA) 11:00:40 * AG W30-34

Image by Michael Rauschendorfer courtesy Commerzbank Triathlon Team