Sebastian Kienle of Germany and Camilla Pedersen of Denmark won the elite titles at Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau.
Kienle combined a 5th-best 24:27 swim, a race-best 2:08:44 bike split - 2:23 better than the next best competitor - and a 3rd-fastest 1:15:25 run to finish in 3:51:56 with a 6:10 margin over fellow German Andy Bocherer and 8:29 over 3rd-place finisher David McNamee of Great Britain.
Pedersen combined a women's 2nd-best 27:29 swim, a 2nd-fastest 2:30:19 bike split and a 3rd-fastest 1:24:18 half marathon to finish in 4:24:56 with a 2:20 margin over Julia Gajer of Germany and 4:18 over 3rd-place finisher Svenja Bazlen of Germany.
German pro Jens Roth, back in the mix after a serious bike crash in 2014, led the swim in 24:05, with 9 men following closely in order – Bocherer, Antony Costes of France, Fraser Cartmell of Great Britain, Jonathan Tryoen of France, Patrick Lange of Germany, David McNamee of Great Britain, Belgians Stenn Goetstouwers and Wouter Monchy and Kienle looming in 10th, 22 seconds arrears.
German bike stars Kienle and Bocherer quickly overtook Roth and the rest. At 28km, Kienle led Bocherer by 5 seconds, Roth by 44 seconds with Lange, Goetstouwers, McNamee, Cartmell and Costes in a pack 2:20 down. At 50km, Bocherer took his turn at the front, 2 seconds ahead of Kienle with Roth 2:32 arrears and Goetstouwers, Lange, Cartmell, Markus Thomschke of Germany, McNamee and Costes in a pack 4:40 down.
Approaching the famous Schindelberg hill at about 70km, Kienle led Bocherer by 44 seconds with Roth at +6:12 and the chase pack at +8:15. By the end of the 2.5km ascent, Bocherer grudgingly surrendered 8 more seconds to the Kona champ. At the finish of the bike leg, Kienle’s 2:08:44 split gave him a 1:26 lead on Bocherer, 8:44 on Roth with the chase group 10 minutes back.
Not content with his lead, Kienle charged hard starting the run, gaining 35 seconds on Bocherer in the first 1.2 km. By 7km, Kienle stretched his lead over Bocherer to 3-plus minutes, while Roth fell back in the top 10 and Lange stood 3rd at +10:05, dueling with Cotes and McNamee. By 8.2km, Kienle led Bocherer by 3:51, Lange by 10:43, Costes by 10:44 and McNamee by 10:44. By 15.2km, Kienle led Bocherer by 5:01. McNamee advanced to 3rd at (+10:20), 9 seconds ahead of Costes and 32 seconds ahead of Lange.
By the finish, Kienle’s 1:15:25 run was 4:34 better than Bocherer and afforded him plenty of breathing room at the finish. McNamee’s race-best 1:14:01 run split vaulted him to 3rd place, 2:19 behind Bocherer. Costes used a 2nd-best 14:56 run split to take 4th, 53 seconds behind McNamee.
Coming off a win at Ironman 70.3 Barcelona, Pedersen looked sharp from the start, emerging from the swim 35 seconds behind fellow Dane Emilie Koors Hoff but seconds ahead of serious German contenders Svenja Bazlen, Anja Beranek, Julia Gajer and 1:05 in front of Natascha Schmitt and 2:06 ahead of Laura Philipp.
By 29km, Anja Beranek, who held off Olympic champion Nicola Spirig to win St. Poelten 70.3 earlier this year, took the front, 2 seconds ahead of Pedersen, 16 seconds ahead of Bazlen, 42 seconds ahead of Gajer and 3:35 ahead of Philipp.
By 50km, Beranek and Pedersen ran nose to tail, 1:31 ahead of Gajer, 1:39 ahead of Bazlen, 5:25 ahead of Philipp and 6:35 ahead of Natascha Schmitt. Twenty kilometers later, at the foot of the Schindelberg climb, Beranek and Pedersen remained in formation, 2:02 up on Gajer, 4:10 on Bazlen, and 7:29 on Philipp. Beranek led upon arrival at T2, 3 seconds ahead of Pedersen, 2:06 on Gajer, 4:55 on Bazlen and 76:57 on Philipp.
By 8.2km into the run, Pedersen took over and pulled away to a 38 seconds margin on Beranek while Gajer cut her deficit to 1:47 and Bazlen and Philipp held steady at a 4:20 and 7:06 deficits.
At 11.5km, Pedersen held firmly to her lead, while Gajer overtook Beranek to take 2nd, 1:55 behind Pedersen and 2 seconds ahead of Beranek. By 15.1km, Pedersen was 2:00 ahead of Gajer, 4:05 on Beranek and 4:11 on Bazlen. At 18km, Bazlen moved past Beranek into 3rd.
At the finish, Pedersen’s 1:24:18 run split held on for the win, 2:20 ahead of Gajer (1:24:36 run), 4:18 ahead of Bazlen (women's 2nd-best 1:23:55 run) and 5:44 ahead of Beranek (1:30:09 run). Philipp (1:24:23 run) took 5th, 2 minutes behind Beranek. Julia Viellehner of Germany made up for a slow swim and bike with a women's-best 1:19:59 run to take 6th, 1:23 behind Philipp.
Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau
June 7, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:51:56
2. Andy Bocherer (GER) 3:58:06
3. David McNamee (GBR) 4:00:25
4. Antony Costes (FRA) 4:01:18
5. Patrick Lange (GER) 4:02:40
6. Fraser Cartmell (GBR) 4:05:36
7. Markus Thomschke (GER) 4:06:19
8. Konstantin Häcker (GER) 4:09:55 *M25-29
9. Philipp Koutny (SUI) 4:10:11 *M30-34
10. Miquel Blanchart Tinto (ESP) 4:14:32 4:14:32
1. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:24:56
2. Julia Gajer (GER) 4:27:16
3. Svenja Bazlen (GER) 4:29:14
4. Anja Beranek (GER) 4:30:40
5. Laura Philipp (GER) 4:32:40
6. Julia Viellehner (GER) 4:34:03 * F30-34
7. Natascha Schmitt (GER) 4:38:17
8. Laura Zimmerman (GER) 4:43:35 * F25-29
9. Kamila Polak (AUT) 4:45:14
10. Katharina Wolff (GER) 4:46:13 *F25-29