Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain won his second 70.3 of the year with dominating swim and bike legs that allowed him to cruise home with a 3:49 margin of victory over 44-year-old Craig Alexander of Australia, who closed with a race-best 1:12:51 run.
Agnieszka Jerzyk of Poland prevailed in a race-long duel with Imogen Simmonds of Switzerland which was settled by 6 seconds in a sprint to the finish.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain began a runaway by leading the swim in 21:49 which gave him a 1:12 lead on Rudolf Naude of South Africa, 1:16 on Sam Betten of Australia, 1:18 on Felipe Azevedo of Portugal, 1:20 on Guy Crawford of New Zealand and 1:21 on three-time Ironman World champion and two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion Craig Alexander of Australia.
After 22km of the bike leg, Brownlee led by 1:30 over a large pack that included Alexander, Justin Metzler of the U.S., Betten, Crawford, Mark Buckingham of Great Britain, Azevedo and Mitchell Robins of Australia. Halfway through the 90km bike leg, Brownlee held a gradually increasing lead over Alexander, Robins, Betten, Crawford, Metzler, Buckingham and Naude.
At 67km, wind and rain hit the competitors as Brownlee expanded his lead to 5 minutes over a dwindling chase pack that included Metzler, Crawford, Azevedo and Alexander.
After a race-best 2:01:16 bike split, Brownlee hit T2 with a 6 minutes lead on Alexander (2:07:31 bike split), 6:41 on Crawford, 7:08 on Betten and 7:21 on Buckingham.
Holding a sizzling pace, Brownlee hit the halfway point of the half marathon in 36:31 – a 3:31 per kilometer rate. Alexander, matching Brownlee’s pace, ran second, 6:47 behind the Olympic double gold medalist. Betten held 3rd, 7:45 arrears.
Cruising in with lead to spare, Brownlee finished with a third-best 1:16:21 half marathon. Brownlee finished in 3:45:28 with a 3:49 margin of victory over Alexander (1:12:51 run) and 4:53 over Betten (1:13:13 run).
Imogen Simmonds of Switzerland led the pro women’s swim in 25:11 which gave her a 1:25 lead on Agnieszka Jerzyk of Poland, 2:44 on Kate Bevilaqua of Australia, 5:20 on Sarah Piampiano of the U.S. and 5:27 on Sue Huse of the U.S.
After a women’s-best 2:21:34 bike split, Jerzyk held a 1:03 lead over Simmonds into T2, with Sue Huse and Sarah Piampiano just over 5 minutes back.
After 4.5 kilometers of the run, Simmonds and Jerzyk were running side by side at a 4 minutes per kilometer pace.
After 15.8km, Simmonds and Jerzyk continued running together with Piampiano 1:58 off the lead, running 10 seconds faster per kilometer.
Jerzyk and Simmonds dueled right to the bitter end, when Jerzyk sprinted to a 6 second victory after a 1:24:51 half marathon that was precisely 6 second faster than Simmonds. Piampiano flew to the finish with a women’s-best 1:20:52 run that brought her home in 3rd place, 54 seconds behind Simmonds.
Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou
April 14, 2018
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR) 3:45:28 S 21:49 T1 3:02 B 2:01:16 T2 3:02 R 1:16:21
2. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:49:17 S 23:10 T1 2:54 B 2:07:31 T2 2:53 R 1:12:51
3. Sam Betten (AUS) 3:50:21 S 23:05 T1 3:03 B 2:08:24 T2 2:46 R 1:13:13
4. Mark Buckingham (GBR) 3:54:29 S 23:12 T1 2:46 B 2:08:37 T2 3:03 R 1:16:53
5. Justin Metzler (USA) 3:55:47 S 23:11 T1 2:50 B 2:08:38 T2 2:42 R 1:18:29
1. Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL) 4:19:45 S 26:36 T1 3:13 B 2:21:34 T2 3:33 R 1:24:51
2. Imogen Simmonds (SUI) 4:19:51 S 25:11 T1 3:34 B 2:22:37 T2 3:34 R 1:24:57
3. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 4:20:45 S 3:31 T1 3:40 B 2:22:25 T2 3:19 R 1:20:52
4. Sue Huse (USA) 4:21:43 S 30:38 T1 4:11 B 2:21:40 T2 3:26 R 1:21:50
5. Anna Eberhardt (HUN) 4:29:08 S 31:13 T1 3:19 B 2:22:14 T2 3:28 R 1:34:13