O’Donnell, Cave prevail at Florida 70.3

Timothy O’Donnell and Leanda Cave took the men’s and women’s titles at the Rohto Florida Ironman 70.3 Sunday at Disney World.

The men

O’Donnell’s 4th-best 24:30 swim, 4th-best 2:08:41 bike and 2nd-best 1:15:18 half marathon run was enough to hold off the Ukraine’s Viktor Zyemtsev and his race-best 1:13:53 run by 1:21. O’Donnell’s 3:51:18 time was the second best in the 7-year history of the event, behind only Craig Alexander’s 3:50:27 winning time in 2007.

O’Donnell’s first win of 2010 comes after a 5th place at Ironman California 70.3, and second places to Terenzo Bozzone at Texas 70.3 (by 29 seconds) and at St. Croix 70.3 (by 37 seconds).

TJ Tollakson came out of the water in the lead pack and almost put the race away with a sizzling 1:59:57 bike which gave him a 7-minute lead starting the run. But as the heat crept higher after a 70-degree swim start air temperature, Tollakson melted to a 1:30:26 run which left him 7th – the same finishing position he scored at the Texas Ironman 70.3 in Galveston.

Defending champion Dirk Bockel, who arrived as a long course star with a win at Florida 70.3 last year, a 3rd at Ironman New Zealand and a 7th at his Ironman Hawaii debut, plus a 2nd at the high-dollar Abu Dhabi International earlier this year, was in the hunt until the run. Bockel shadowed O’Donnell as if it were a match race on the swim and bike, then dropped to third with a 1:17:14 run that surrendered the runner-up slot to Zyemtsev’s flying feet by 16 seconds.

The women

Cave’s 4:14:22 finish topped runner-up Amanda Stevens by 4:33, broke her own course record by 67 seconds, and capped off a 2008, 2009 and 2010 Disney 70.3 three-peat. Cave’s win here extends a 2010 hot streak that includes a 2nd place at the prestigious Abu Dhabi International, a 4th at California 70.3 at Oceanside, and comes just one week after her third win at Escape From Alcatraz.

After trailing Sara McLarty by 2:39 and Amanda Stevens by 1:39 after the swim, Cave broke into a slight lead at T2 with a race-best 2:17:37 bike and put the race away with a race-best 1:26:29 run that was 4:36 better than Stevens’ half marathon.

Stevens’ runner-up finish was her second straight impressive 2010 performance, coming after a second place finish to Samantha McGlone at Texas 70.3 in Galveston.

Magali Tisseyre of Canada made up for a 28:18 swim and 2:23:38 bike with a third-best 1:27:56 run to take third in 4:23:10, 4:15 back of Stevens.

Rohto Florida Ironman 70.3
Disney World, Florida
May 16, 2010
S 1.2 mi/ B 56 mi./ R 13.1 mi.

Results

Men

1. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 3:51:18
2. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 3:52:39
3. Dirk Bockel (UKR) 3:52:55
4. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 3:57:06
5. David Kahn (USA) 3:57:14
6. Maxim Kriat (UKR) 3:57:52
7. TJ Tollakson (USA) 3:58:59
8. Paul Ambrose (AUS) 4:01:45
9. Andres Castillo Latorre (COL) 4:03:52
10. David Sharratt (CAN) 4:09:02
11. Alun Woodward (GBR) 4:11:16
12. Bryan Rhodes (NZL) 4:11:34
13. Nicholas Vandam (USA) 4:13:14

Women

1. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:14:22
2. Amanda Stevens (USA) 4:18:55
3. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:23:10
4. Ayesha Rollinson (CAN) 4:29:07
5. Jacqui Gordon (CAN) 4:29:39
6. Kim Loeffler (USA) 4:31:01
7. Daniela Saemmeler (GER) 4:34:39
8. Heather Leiggi (USA) 4:34:58
9. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:35:24
10. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:40:50
11. Kate Pallardy (USA) 4:44:46
12. Danielle Sullivan (USA) 4:53:27