Defending champion Filip Ospaly ran down Michael Weiss to take the 2011 Ironman 70.3 Austria St. Pölten. In the women's race the podium was reversed from the previous year with Karin Thürig victorious this time.
Filip Ospaly set the pace during the swim and emerged first from the waters of the Viehofner See. We actually can indeed say waters here as athletes at the 70.3 Austria swim in 2 lakes which are connected by a run of 200 meters. Ospaly was followed by Dorian Wagner, Dominik Berger and Uwe Widmann.
Once on the bike, Ospaly maintained the lead for a while until he was blitzed by Austrian Michael Weiss who quickly had made up the 3.5 minutes lost during the swim and now was on the way to reach T2 first with a superb 2:05:17 bike split. Ospaly was next in the bike-run transition about four minutes later followed by Thomas Hellriegel and Michael Goehner.
Ospaly though flew on the run and ran down Weiss for the win. Paul Amey also had a fine effort on the bike and superb run, but he had to settle for third place behind the lanky Austrian.
"Before the start I told myself that a gap of 3 minutes in T2 to Michael would be ok for me. But I had (lost) almost 4 minutes so the first 10k I ran my own pace and the gap in the middle of the run was 1:55," said Ospaly to slowtwitch. "Then I started to run faster and at 15k I could see Michael, so it was ok for me and I knew that I would win."
Last year the women's race ended up with Yvonne Van Vlerken and Erika Csomor sprinting to the line, with Van Vlerken taking the win. This year Csomor was determined to keep the Dutch woman at bay and had a nice lead over her after the swim and bike, but it was not Van Vlerken she had to worry about on this day.
Karin Thürig had overcome her typical slow swim with a very fast bike split and and had cruised by her with a time of 2:18:02, clearly the fastest among the female Pros. Eva Wutti also had a fast bike split and she was next in transition several minutes behind Thürig and not much ahead of Csomor.
Thürig though also ran well, and unlike last year where Van Vlerken and Csomor had chased her down, the fast Swiss Pro pretty much ran the same pace as Csomor and never was threatened for the win. Csomor crossed the line in second place about 4 minutes later and Van Vlerken rounded out the podium.
"After the bike I heard I have about 3 minutes on Erika. My goal was to keep the lead as long as possible," said Thürig. "At the beginning of the second running loop I was informed that my lead was still the same. I just tried to keep on running the same pace as the race is not over until you cross the finish line. I am very happy with the win."
Ironman 70.3 Austria St. Pölten
St. Pölten, Austria / May 22, 2011
1.2m swim / 56m bike / 13.1m run
1. Filip Ospaly (CZE) 3:55:27
2. Michael Weiss (AUT) 3:56:01
3. Paul Amey (GBR) 3:57:41
4. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 3:59:11
5. Cyril Viennot (FRA) 3:59:36
6. Michael Göhner (GER) 4:01:07
7. Uwe Widmann (GER) 4:01:26
8. Swen Sundberg (GER) 4:02:11
9. Dorian Wagner (GER) 4:05:37
10. Dejan Patrcevic (CRO) 4:06:00
1. Karin Thürig (SUI) 4:20:34
2. Erika Csomor (HUN) 4:24:19
3. Yvonne Van-Vlerken (NED) 4:26:56
4. Eva Wutti (AUT) 4:31:51
5. Simone Benz (SUI) 4:33:16
6. Sonja Tajsich (GER) 4:34:13
7. Kristen Möller (GER) 4:38:01
8. Heleen Bij-De-Vaate (NED) 4:42:57
9. Monika Stadlmann (AUT) 4:50:37
10. Jana Candrova (AUT) 4:53:40