Sebastian Kienle of Germany and Melissa Hauschildt of Australia won the elite titles at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt.
Kienle made up for a 4 minute deficit after the swim with a race-best 4:12:12 bike split and a 2nd-fastest 2:44:12 run to finish in 7:52:43, edging runner-up Andi Böcherer by 57 seconds and topping 3rd-place Eneko Llanos of Spain by 16:25.
On a day in which current Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Champion Daniela Ryf pulled out with hypothermia on the bike, Hauschildt made up for an 8:10 deficit after a 7th-best swim with a women’s 4th- fastest 4:57:10 bike split and a 2nd-best 3:00:12 marathon. The two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion earned her third Ironman title in a time of 9:01:17, which gave her an 8:41 margin of victory over Katja Konschak of Germany and 12:06 over 3rd-place Daniela Sämmler of Germany.
Marko Albert of Estonia aced the swim in 48:12, which gave him a 2 seconds lead on Denis Chevrot of France, 13 seconds on Johann Ackermann of Germany, 18 seconds on Tim O’Donnell of the U.S., and 22, 23, 24, 27 and 29 seconds on Germans Alexander Schilling and Christian Kramer, Igor Amorelli of Brazil, Bas Diederen of Netherlands, Joe Gambles of Australia and Böcherer. Llanos was 59 seconds down and Kienle had 4 minutes to make up.
On his way to a race-best 4:12:12 bike split, Kienle passed long-time leader Böcherer at 104km until his chain fell off and he dropped to 3rd. Some 20 minutes later, Kienle rejoined the duo and rode with them all the way to T2 where Böcherer (4:15:27 bike split), Kienle and Llanos (4:15:21) arrived within four seconds of one another.
In the first 8k of the marathon, Kienle and Böcherer roared off at 2:37 marathon pace and put 2 minutes on Llanos, never to see the Spaniard again. Kienle and Böcherer reached the half marathon mark at 1:18:30, with Llanos 6 minutes back and Albert trailing by 10 minutes.
By 28.7km, Kienle stretched out a 1:17 lead on Böcherer, and to 1:42 at 33km. Böcherer fought back and sliced Kienle’s lead to 64 seconds at 35km. With 600 meters to go, Böcherer cut the gap to 50 seconds, but that was his last gasp. Kienle crossed the line in 7:52:43 with a 57 seconds margin on Böcherer, who ran 2:45:02. Llanos ran 3:00:33 to hold on to 3rd, Albert ran 2:57:33 to take 4th and William Clarke of Great Britain surged to 5th place with a race-best 2:42:08 marathon.
Kienle’s winning time was 2:55 slower than Jan Frodeno’s course record last year and his bike split was 3:28 slower than Frodeno’s 4:08:44 bike record.
From the start of the bike leg, Ryf appeared to be struggling, uncomfortable and slow. Within 10km, Schmitt, Sämmler and 8 other women passed her, and by 20km Ryf stopped and withdrew, reportedly suffering from hypothermia.
Quickly, Schmitt took over and posted a women’s-fastest 4:54:15 bike split that gave her a 5:15 lead at T2 on Sämmler, 6:32 on Hauschildt, 8:09 on Verena Walter, and 11:19 on Astrid Stienen.
By 3.1k of the run, Hauschildt advanced to 2nd at 5:28 down, followed by Sämmler (+6:04), Walter (+7:42), and Stienen (+10:48). By 13.6km, Hauschildt trimmed her deficit to 2:36 and by 18km, it was 200 meters. Hauschildt passed Schmitt at 19km, and at the half marathon point she had a 44 seconds lead on Schmitt.
At 35km, Hauschildt was sailing to victory with an 8:30 lead on a fading Sämmler while Katja Konschak, on her way to a women's-best 2:59:29 marathon, passed Schmitt for 3rd place, 9:30 behind the leader. Four minutes later, Konschak passed Sämmler for 2nd, who passed a fading Schmitt for 3rd.
Verena Walter took 5th in 9:15:58, making four German women in the top 5.
Mainova Ironman European Championship
July 3, 2016
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 7:52:43
2. Andi Böcherer (GER) 7:53:40
3. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 8:09:08
4. Marko Albert (EST) 8:11L38
5. William Clarke (GBR) 8:14:56
6. Christian Kramer (GER) 8:18:14
7. Denis Chevrot (FRA) 8:19:59
8. Bertrand Billard (FRA) 8:26:27
9. Marc Duelsen (GER) 8:26:59
10. Johann Ackermann (GER) 8:31:06
1. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 9:01:17
2. Katja Konschak (GER) 9:09:58
3. Daniela Sämmler (GER) 9:13:23
4. Natascha Schmitt (GER) 9:16:40
5. Verena Walter (GER) 9:18:58
6. Saleta Castro Noqueria (ESP) 9:22:41
7. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS) 9:30:48
8. Katharina Grohmann (GER) 9:31:54
9. Bianca Steurer (AUT) 9:37:59
10. Petra Krejcova (CZE) 9:45:13