Andreas Raelert stormed to the win at the 2010 Ironman European Championships in Frankfurt, Germany with a superb bike split and held off a stellar field along the way. Sandra Wallenhorst ran down Caroline Steffen to take win in the women's race and thus managed to defend her title from the previous year.
Kona 2009 third place finisher Raelert exited the Langener Waldsee outside of Frankfurt just a few seconds behind swim leader Christian Ritter. 2009 and 2008 champions Timo Bracht and Chris McCormack were about 30 seconds adrift. Due to relatively warm water conditions all the athletes were doing the swim today without wetsuits.
Raelert then took charge on the bike and slowly pulled away from all other competitors. Halfway through the bike his lead over the chasing pack that included Bracht, McCormack, Cameron Brown and Jan Raphael had grown to 7 minutes, and he did not seem to slow down. Bracht broke away from the other chasers and tried to reel in the elder Raelert, but by the time the defending champion Bracht hit T2, Raelert had already passed through 11 minutes earlier thanks to a 4:20:35 bike split. This time was especially impressive when considering that he had to ride 185k instead of the standard 180k. Due to construction along the bike route the course had to be altered and all athletes got to enjoy an extra 5k of scenery during the bike segment. McCormack, Brown and Raphael got there 2 minutes after Bracht.
Bracht looked very fast on the run but so did Raelert and McCormack. All 3 of them were flying along and although Bracht and McCormack were slightly faster, Raelert seemed to be in control. Bracht picked up the pace in the second half of the marathon and with his 2:47:37 split recorded the fastest run time of the day. Raelert though was not going to be denied and with his 2:53:27 run crossed the line first and became the new European Ironman champion. Bracht crossed the line about 5 minutes later in second position, and McCormack rounded out the podium 4 minutes after Bracht.
"Andreas Raelert put in a scorching ride to record the fastest bike split of the day 4:20:35 and this is a course 5km longer than last year due to road works so quite amazing," said Cameron Brown who finished fourth on today.
Katja Konschak led the women out of the water with a great swim time of 49:34 and had over 3 minutes on Caroline Steffen who exited the water next. More importantly though Steffen had a cushion of more than 4 minutes on Yvonne Van Vlerken and almost 6 minutes on defending champion Sandra Wallenhorst.
Wallenhorst passed quite a few of her competitors in pursuit of Steffen but was not able to make a dent into the lead of the Swiss Team TBB pro. She did however gain time on Van Vlerken. Steffen actually gained a few more seconds and reached T2 a bit more than 6 minutes ahead of Wallenhorst and Van Vlerken who arrived in transition together.
Wallenhorst soon got away from Van Vlerken and steadily gained on Steffen. It took the German though until km 34 to catch the Swiss pro but once the pass was made there was no stopping Wallenhorst from repeating her title. Wallenhorst crossed the line first in 9:04:27 with her 3:00:15 marathon. Steffen held on to second place in a time of 9:06:42 and Van Vlerken finished third in 9:10:21.
"Coming of the bike I felt really good and comfy and was able to half the gap to her within the first loop. I almost felt like I would really come closer to that trophy I wanted so badly and when I finally when passed her, I knew it was my day," said Wallenhorst to slowtwitch. "It was so impressive, the crowd was amazing and this second title feels even better than the first one."
Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman European Championships
Frankfurt, Germany / July 4, 2010
3.8k swim / 185k bike / 42.2k run
Top 10 men
1. Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:05:15
2. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:10:22
3. Chris Mccormack (AUS) 8:14:43
4. Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:18:33
5. Jan Raphael (GER) 8:19:27
6. Christian Ritter (GER) 8:31:28
7. Uwe Widmann (GER) 8:33:06
8. Frank Vytrisal (GER) 8:35:39
9. Patrick Vernay (NCL) 8:37:38
10. Mika Luoto (FIN) 8:38:21
Top 10 women
1. Sandra Wallenhorst (GER) 9:04:27
2. Caroline Steffen (SWI) 9:06:42
3. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 9:10:21
4. Silvia Balbach (GER) 9:23:10 *AG W30-34
5. Diana Riesler (GER) 9:27:37
6. Katja Konschak (GER) 9:31:57
7. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 9:36:12
8. Susan Dietrich (GER) 9:39:12
9. Meike Krebs (GER) 9:42:28
10. Nina Pekerman (ISR) 9:47:25 *AG W30-34