Giulio Molinari of Italy edged Romain Guillaume of France and Lucy Gossage of Great Britain broke out of a duel with fellow Brit Nikki Bartlett with a strong run to win the elite titles at Staffordshire 70.3.
Molinari fought his way right into the thick of the swim leaders with a 3rd-best 23:48 split that put him 3 seconds behind Elliot Smales and 2 seconds behind Harry Wiltshire and a few seconds ahead of Romain Guillaume, Fraser Cartmell and Philip Graves.
Graves snatched the lead with a race-best 2:12:05 bike split that was 48 seconds better than Molinari, 59 seconds better than Guillaume, 4:02 better than Markus Thomschke and 6 minutes better than Smales and Cartmell.
Graves started with a 35 seconds lead on Molinari, 43 seconds on Guillaume, 5:30 on Thomschke and 5:44 on Smales.
After a 2nd-fastest 1:20:08 run, Molinari finished in 4:01:10 with a 1:52 margin of victory over Guillaume (1:21:40 run) and 4:49 over 3rd place Smales (race-best 1:19:35 run).
As is her habit, Lucy Gossage dug a hole for herself on the swim with a 30:35 split that gave her significant deficits to a trio of fellow Britons – 4:30 to Drew Hannah, 2:28 to Kimberley Morrison and 10 seconds to Nikki Bartlett – as well as an 11-seconds advantage to Brooke Brown of Canada.
Gossage and Bartlett matched women's-best 2:27:46 bike splits to arrive at T2 just under a minute behind Kimberley Morrison (2:29:13 bike split) while Drewett and Brown faded from contention with bike splits 17 and 18 minutes off the pace.
Gossage shut the door on her rivals with a women's-best 1:25:18 run that was 4:47 better than the next-best effort by Bartlett. Gossage thus finished in 4:28:09 which gave her a 5:03 margin of victory over Bartlett and 12:05 over 3rd-place Morrison (1:37:54 run).
Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire
June 18, 2017
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Giulio Molinari (ITA) 4:01:10
2. Romain Guillaume (FRA) 4:03:01
3. Elliott Smales (GBR) 4:05:59
4. Markus Thomschke (GER) 4:07:29
5. Fraser Cartmell (GBR) 4:07:53
1. Lucy Gossage (GBR) 4:28:09
2. Nikki Bartlett (GBR) 4:33:12
3. Kimberley Morrison (GBR) 4:40:14
4. Hannah Drewett (GBR) 4:57:27
5. Brooke Brown (CAN) 4:58:29