Ironman 70.3 rookie Gustav Iden of Norway and 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Spirig of Switzerland won Haugesund 70.3.
Iden, who with Norwegian ITU star Kristian Blummenfelt is top cyclist and a member of the Norwegian national triathlon team, won his rookie debut at the Ironman 70.3 distance after a race-long battle with pro triathlon veterans Nils Frommhold of Germany and Filip Ospaly of the Czech Republic.
The 20-year-old star cyclist matched Frommhold and Ospaly on the swim (20:22, 20:26, 20:29) and the bike leg (2:09:19, 2:09:13, 2:09:00). On the run, Iden surged to a 1:48 and 1:49 lead on Frommhold and Ospaly by 10.8km. Iden then held off a desperate counter surge by Frommhold to close with a race-best 1:11:28 half marathon and finish in 3:44:34, with a 31 seconds margin of victory.
Frommhold, who closed with a 1:11:47 run, finished in 3:45:05 with a 43 seconds advantage on third place Ospaly (1:12:35 run), 6:42 over 4th place Henrik Hyldelund of Denmark (1:20:00 run), and 7:25 on 5th place Markus Thomschke of Germany (1:15:47 run).
Spirig, whose coach Brett Sutton likes to run his star at over distance in preparation for the looming Olympics, fought Danish long distance star Camilla Pedersen to a draw after the swim and bike before smashing all resistance with a by-far women's best 1:18:32 run. Spirig finished in 4:09:37 with a 5:58 margin of victory over Pedersen (women’s 2nd-fastest 1:24:24 run) and 8:53 over 3rd-place Susie Cheetham of Great Britain (1:25:45 run).
Peter Kerr of Australia and Mark Threllfall of Great Britain led the swim in 20:19 and 20:20 with Iden, Hyldelund, Frommhold, and Ospaly hot on their heels. Super cyclist-triathlete Andreas Dreitz of Germany trailed by 1:13.
By 30km of the bike leg, Ospaly led a closely bunched pack of seven that included Hyldelund (+1s), Frommhold (+3s), David Breuer of Germany (+4s), Iden (+7s), Morton Hansen of Norway (+8s), and Threlfall (+9s). Markus Thomschke of Germany stood 1:21 arrears. After a race-best 2:06:57 bike split, Hyldelund opened a 1:46 to 1:52 lead on a quintet that included Frommhold, Ospaly, Iden, Breuer and Hansen.
By 11km of the run, Iden surged to a 1:48 lead on Frommhold, 1:49 on Ospaly, 3:36 on Breuer, 4:48 on Hyldelund, 7:15 on Thomschke, and 8:21 on Threlfall. Despite his late run surge, Frommhold fell 31 seconds short of the victory.
Nicola Spirig led the swim in 21:47, which gave her a 2 seconds advantage over Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic, 1:56 over Susie Cheetham of Great Britain and 1:57 over Pedersen.
By 30km of the bike leg, Spirig led Vodickova by 38 seconds, Cheetham by 46 seconds and Pedersen by 47 seconds. By 60km, Vodickova dropped out and Pedersen led Spirig by 3 seconds and Cheetham by 4 seconds. After a women's-best 2:23:07 bike split, Pedersen led Spirig by 5 seconds and Cheetham by 1:32.
Whereupon Spirig, fresh off a 9:07 time for a 3000-meter track race early in June, ended all arguments on the run. By 13.9km, she led Pedersen by 4:20 and Cheetham by 6:19, and sailed to the finish with a 1:18:32 run that was 5:52 better than Pedersen and 7:13 better than Cheetham.
Ironman 70.3 Haugesund
July 3, 2016
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Gustav Iden (NOR) 3:44:34
2. Nils Frommhold (GER) 3:45:05
3. Filip Ospaly (CZE) 3:45:48
4. Henrik Hyldelund (DEN) 3:51:47
5. Markus Thomschke (GER) 3:52:30
1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 4:09:37
2. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:15:35
3. Susie Cheetham (GBR) 4:18:29
4. Nikki Bartlett (GBR) 4:25:38
5. Kristin Lie (NOR) 4:35:27