Andreas Dreitz of Germany and Melissa Hauschildt of Australia prevailed at the Ironman 70.3 European Championship in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Dreitz obliterated his 40 seconds deficit after the swim within 20 kilometers of the bike and created a 3:19 lead at T2 with a race-best 2:16:18 bike split. Dreitz then held off a superb 1:09:20 half marathon by Canadian Lionel Sanders with a 7th-best run to finish in 3:59:05 with a 1:18 margin of victory on Sanders and 1:37 on 3rd-place Boris Stein.
"I was surprised that everything worked out so well,” Dreitz told Ironman Media. “In the past, I didn’t really show my personal best in this race. I learned to love this course today. It was my goal to keep a gap to Boris and Lionel, I’m full of respect for Boris and Lionel – they had huge results this year. It was a very emotional finish for me."
Two-time Ironman 70.3 World champion Hauschildt overcame a 2:34 deficit to Jodie Swallow of Great Britain after the swim with a women’s-best 2:36:48 bike split that gave her a 1:41 lead on Anja Beranek of Germany and 1:59 advantage on Swallow at T2. Hauschildt then sealed her victory with a women’s-best 1:18:46 half marathon that was 3:30 better than the efforts of runner-up Swallow and 3rd-place Laura Philipp of Germany. Hauschildt crossed the line in 4:27:35 with a 5:28 margin on Swallow and 6:30 on Philipp.
Hauschildt gave a succinct summary: “This is my first time to Europe, and I think I really like it." Swallow had high praise for the winner: “I’m really happy with my second place, and I do think Melissa is totally underrated.”
Former ITU short course star Steffen Justus of Germany led a stacked-with-talent men’s field with a 23:54 swim that gave him a lead on a huge pack, including an 18-seconds margin on eventual challenger Patrick Lange of Germany, 2:22 on Lionel Sanders of Canada, 2:41 on Boris Stein of Germany, and 2:46 on Bart Aernouts of Belgium.
By 21 kilometers of the bike leg, Dreitz surged to the lead with a 39 seconds advantage on fellow German Maurice Clavel, 41 seconds on Lange, 43 seconds on Justus, 46 seconds on Igor Amorelli of Brazil, and 48 seconds on Will Clarke of Great Britain as part of a pack of 13 men who rode within 1 minute of the leader.
By 61km, Dreitz opened a lead of 3:05 on Thomas Steger of Austria, 3:28 on Stein, 3:58 on Lange, and 4:43 to 4:50 on Sanders, Justus and Maurice Clavel of Germany. After his sizzling race-best 2:16:18 bike split, Dreitz led Stein by 3:19, Steger by 4:56, Lange by 6:04, and Sanders by a daunting 6:20 gap.
Sanders charged hard and passed Boris Stein for 2nd place at 13.8km, 3:30 behind the leader.
Sanders started the final lap at 15.9 kilometers 2:49 behind Dreitz. After a race-best 1:09:20 run, Sanders clipped 5:21 from Dreitz’s lead but fell 1:18 short of the win. Stein ran 1:13:04 to take the final spot on the podium, 19 seconds behind the Canadian.
As usual, Hauschildt started her day well back – 3:31 behind swim leader Jodie Swallow of Great Britain and 1:27 behind Anja Beranek of Germany, but an encouraging 24 seconds ahead of dangerous biker-runner Laura Philipp of Germany.
At 38km into the bike leg, Knapp had a 1 second lead on Beranek, 4 seconds on comeback kid Helle Frederiksen (who recently lost 18 months to injury), 12 seconds on Swallow, 48 seconds on Hauschildt, 1:41 on Camilla Pedersen of Denmark, and 2:30 on Philipp. Hauschildt made her move on the long climb to an area known as the “Platte,” making up 50 seconds in 5km. By 61km, Hauschildt opened a 54 seconds to 1:03 lead on Swallow, Beranek, Frederiksen and Knapp, with Philipp and Pedersen 2:40 arrears.
By the finish of the bike, Hauschildt’s by-far women's-best 1:18:46 bike split gave her a 1:41 lead on Beranek, 1:59 on Swallow, 2:47 on Pedersen, 2:52 on Philipp, 3:27 on Knapp, and 3:42 on Frederiksen.
Halfway through the run, Hauschildt shut the door on her chasers, taking a 4 minutes lead on Swallow and 5:27 on Philipp, who just passed Beranek.
At the finish, Hauschildt had a 5:28 margin on Swallow and 6:30 on 3rd place Philipp, plenty of time to catch her breath and enunciate the full and complete name of this prestigious event – the Sparkassen Finanzgruppe Ironman 70.3 European Championship Wiesbaden powered by Mainova.
Ironman 70.3 European Championship
August 14, 2016
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Andreas Dreitz (GER) 3:59:05
2. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 4:00:23
3. Boris Stein (GER) 4:00:42
4. Patrick Lange (GER) 4:02:02
5. Steffen Justus (GER) 4:03:52
6. Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) 4:06:45
7. Maurice Clavel (GER) 4:07:24
8. Thomas Steger (AUT) 4:07:33
9. Will Clarke (GBR) 4:09:03
10. Bart Aernouts (BEL) 4:09:03
12. Ivan Raña (ESP) 4:10:30
1. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:27:35
2. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 4:33:03
3. Laura Philipp (GER) 4:34:05
4. Anja Beranek (GER) 4:36:17
5. Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) 4:37:43
6. Emma Pallant (GBR) 4:39:25
7. Anja Knapp (GER) 4:41:07
8. Natascha Schmitt (GER) 4:43:01
9. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:43:33
10. Julia Gajer (GER) 4:45:02