Germans rule Ironman Florida as Vuckovic and Kraft win

The 2007 Ford Ironman Florida triathlon brought in competitors from all over the world, but in the end 2 Germans were crowned Ironman Florida champions.

A very large pro men’s field entered the Gulf of Mexico and soon swim specialists Chris Hauth (USA), Stephen Bayliss (GBR) and Bryan Rhodes (NZL) were the early pace setters. Rhodes though managed to gain a bit of an advantage on the second lap of the swim and emerged first in T1 in a time of 49:02.

The early part of the bike was dominated by Markus Fachbach (GER) but by mile 90 he was caught by a small pack of seven men that included Rhodes, Stefan Vuckovic (GER) and Damien Favre-Felix (FRA). With a small surge at the end it was Favre-Felix who arrived first at T2 with a bike split of 4:28:40.

Clearly feeling better than he did in Kona a few weeks earlier, Vuckovic quickly took the lead in the marathon and never relinquished it. He crossed the line in the record winning time of 8:21:29 and a very impressive 2:51:56 marathon. With the fastest run of the day (2:46:00), Slowtwitcher Sergio Marques (POR) managed to move himself into second place but ran out of real estate at the end. Rhodes had a gutsy race and held on for third.

In the women's race, Tereza Macel (CAN) and Nina Kraft (GER) were the first to emerge from the calm but cool waters with an almost 3 minute gap on Marie Danais (CAN).

Once on the bike Kraft quickly moved into the lead but was soon caught by course record holder Katja Schumacher (GER). Schumacher had made up an almost 4 minute deficit and after that these two athletes would trade leads throughout the remainder of the bike segment. Schumacher though reached T2 first with a very fast bike split.

On the run though Kraft caught Schumacher back and took the lead by the halfway point. Meanwhile new pro Tyler Stewart (USA), four-time race champion Bella Comerford (GBR) and Heleen Bij de Vaate (NED) were running well behind the 2 Germans. But it would be the relative unknown Bij de Vaate who ran all the way into second place late in the run. Kraft struggled at the end but held on for the win and a big new course record time of 9:05:35. Bij de Vaate and Stewart rounded out the podium also well under the previous course record time.

Top 10 pro men

1. Stephan Vuckovic (GER) 8:21:29
2. Sergio Marques (POR) 8:23:49
3. Bryan Rhodes (NZL) 8:26:52
4. Stephen Bayliss (GBR) 8:30:59
5. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 8:31:26
6. Christophe Bastie (FRA) 8:32:41
7. Stijn Demeulemeester (BEL) 8:33:05
8. Justin Granger (AUS) 8:38:23
9. Chris Hauth (USA) 8:38:36
10. Justin Daerr (USA) 8:40:25

Top 10 pro women

1. Nina Kraft (GER) 9:05:35
2. Heleen Bij De Vaate (NED) 9:07:40
3. Tyler Stewart (USA) 9:09:18
4. Bella Comerford (GBR) 9:13:34
5. Tamara Kozulina (UKR) 9:20:10
6. Katja Schumacher (GER) 9:22:21
7. Sara Gross (CAN) 9:24:41
8. Gabriela Loskotova (CZE) 9:27:44
9. Stephanie Jones (USA) 9:34:31
10. Paolina Allan (CAN) 9:36:18