Timothy O’Donnell of the United States and Caroline Steffen of Switzerland won the first Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships Sunday at Laguna Phuket.
O’Donnell backed up his 3rd place last month at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater with a wire-to-wire win in 3:59:42 which gave him a 2 minutes 10 seconds margin over runner-up Massimo Cigana of Italy and 4 minutes 18 seconds over third-place Hideo Fukui of Japan.
Steffen followed her career breakthrough 2nd place finish at the Ironman World Championship in Kona in October with a virtual wire-to-wire win at Laguna Phuket in 4:20:13, which gave her a 4-minutes 40-seconds margin over runner-up Melissa Rollison of Australia and 10 minutes 36 seconds over third place finisher Belinda Granger of Australia.
O’Donnell broke out front with a 24:34 split for the 1.2-mile swim, 10 seconds ahead of Fukui, 14 seconds ahead of Kiwi Bryan Rhodes and 16 seconds ahead of UK star Paul Ambrose. The front five were followed by Jan Raphael of Germany (1:41 back), Chris Legh of Australia (1:50 down), Fredrik Croneberg of Sweden (3:03 back), Dominico Passuello of Italy (3:05 back) and Cigana of Italy (3:10 down).
O’Donnell’s third-best 2:13:04 bike split held off the charges of Passuello (2:12:05) and Cigana (2:12:16). O’Donnell’s best-balanced race was capped off by a 4th-best 1:19:43 run which left Cigana in 2nd place with his third-best 1:19:11 run and Fukui in 3rd with a 1:22:08 run.
Veteran 70.3 star Chris Legh used a race-best 1:17:17 run to overcome a sub-par 2:21:22 bike to finish 5th, 34 seconds behind 4th-place Passuello.
Steffen, who earned Team TBB star status this year with several IM 70.3 wins and her breakthrough 2nd at Kona, combined a 2nd-best 26:31 swim and race-best 2:23:02 bike and a 2nd-best 1:27:17 run to hit the line in 4:20:13 and hold off the race-best 1:23:04 run of runner-up Melissa Rollison of Australia by a comfortable 4:40 margin.
Australian 13-time Ironman-distance champion Belinda Granger remained relatively close with a 27:43 swim and 2:27:02 bike but surrendered the runner-up slot to Rollison with a 1:32:53 run.
Michelle Wu of Australia took 4th in 4:32:13, and Canadian Samantha McGlone, the 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and 2007 Ironman World Championship runner-up, took 5th in 4:36:52.
Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship
Laguna Phuket, Thailand
December 5, 2010
S 1.2 mi./ B 56 mi./ R 13.1 mi.
1. Timothy O’Donnell (USA) 3:59:42
2. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 4:01:52
3. Hideo Fukui (JPN) 4:04:00
4. Domenico Passuello (ITA) 4:06:51
5. Chris Legh (AUS) 4:07:25
6. Paul Ambrose (GBR) 4:07:53
7. Bryan Rhodes (NZL) 4:10:15
8. Jan Raphael (GER) 4:10:24
9. Fredrik Croneberg (SWE) 4:13:33\
10. Alejandro Santamaria (ESP) 4:18:18
1. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:20:13
2. Melissa Rollison (AUS) 4:24:53
3. Belinda Granger (AUS) 4:30:49
4. Michelle Wu (AUS) 4:32:13
5. Samantha McGlone (CAN) 4:36:52
6. Diana Riesler (GER) 4:37:29
7. Rachael Paxton (AUS) 4:38:55
8. Ruth Nivon Machoud (SUI) 4:41:04
9. Emma Ruth Smith (GBR) 4:43:39
10. Francesca Tibaldi (ITA) 4:44:01