Gustav Iden took his second IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship with a decisive move on the bike, then accelerated on the run away from Sam Long (pictured) and Daniel Baekkegard.
With a prompt start at 7 AM with a cannon blast, the swim started to string out into a pyramid by the first sight buoy. Right out of the gate, Ben Kanute, Sam Appleton, Daniel Baekkegard, and Eric Lagestrom opened a gap. That led pack continued to work together, driving a 37 second gap by the halfway mark of the swim to chasers which included Tyler Butterfield and defending champion Gustav Iden.
The Kanute group hit land in 23:48, with the chasing pack expanded to include Jackson Laundry, Tim Reed, and the aforementioned Butterfield and Iden now about 1 minute down. Sam Long held his disadvantage in the swim to 2:24, coming out with Taylor Reid and Bradley Weiss. However, during transition, there were a few men with issues: Long and Appleton had issues with the zipper on their respective kits, and Reed left his swim skin bottom on.
Onto the bike, in the opening miles the front group was whittled down to Kanute (riding a disc braked Speed Concept), Kristian Blummenfelt, Miki Taagholt, and Baekkegard. The chasers, about 30 seconds behind, included Frederic Funk, Magnus Ditlev, Sam Appleton, Lagestrom, Iden, and Laundry. Long, meanwhile, tried to begin his trip to the front and made up 15 seconds in 7 miles. At mile 13, the front two groups on the road merged together, creating a lead pack of 10.
Nearing the halfway mark, the large pack continued to ride together on the front. Long continued his march toward the front, now 11th, +1:45 to the front group.
Coming into the final 20 miles, the front group began to shatter as the effort ramped up. Baekkegaard was the first to crack as Iden went to the front. As the men continued their ride through Snow Canyon, Iden, Funk, and Ditlev broke away, opening a 45 second gap to the chasing group. Baekkegard stemmed the bleeding, hanging on to the back of the chasing pack.
Blummenfelt, meanwhile, suffered a mechanical with less than 10 miles to go, requiring a front wheel change and losing touch with the front of the race. At the end of the bike, Iden had put a charge in, opening a 44 second gap on Ditlev, 1:50 to Funk, and 2:51 to Lagerstrom, Laundry, and Appleton.
Off on the run, Iden began to easily pull away. Ditlev held onto second, two minutes adrift. The fastest mover, however, was Sam Long -- now sitting in fifth place, and matching the pace of Iden in front. The forecasted rain started to come in, helping to cool off conditions a bit.
With 3.6 miles covered, Iden extended his gap -- now 2.5 minutes over Ditlev, with Baekkegard another 45 seconds back. Long moved into 4th, the fastest runner on course. Laundry, Kanute, and Lagerstrom were the last of the chasers within four minutes of the lead.
At the halfway mark, Iden was cruising with a three minute cushion over Long, who immediately accelerated away from Baekkegard and Ditlev. Laundry in fifth had also broken away from the rest of the chasers, as Taagholt, Kanute, Lagerstrom, Appleton, and Robert Kallin rounded out the top 10. And at the halfway mark, a thunderstorm brought heavy rain and hail.
Opening the second loop of the run with hail still falling, Iden extended his lead slightly on Long, now second on the road. Baekkegard was hanging onto third, with Ditlev losing ground in 4th and soon to be passed by Laundry. And with just three miles remaining, Iden had a comfortable four minute lead on Long. Long had 40 seconds on Baekkegard, who had the same amount of time on Laundry.
Taking his time in the finishing chute, Iden broke the tape in 3:37:13, running 1:11:32. Long ran 1:12:11 to finish second in 3:41:09. Rounding out the podium was Baekkegard in 3:42:24
1. Gustav Iden 3:37:13
2. Sam Long 3:41:09
3. Daniel Baekkegard 3:42:24
4. Miki Taagholt 3:43:08
5. Jackson Laundry 3:43:25
6. Ben Kanute 3:43:48
7. Eric Lagerstrom 3:44:42
8. Magnus Ditlev 3:45:10
9. Sam Appleton 3:45:18
10. Filipe Azevedo 3:47:03