Ryf, Baekkegärd take Ironman Austria

Daniela Ryf of Switzerland and Daniel Baekkegärd of Denmark won the elite titles at Ironman Austria.


After the bike leg, Daniela Ryf built a huge lead and was on pace to break Mirinda Carfrae’s women’s race record when she lost her usual energy and cruised to the win at Ironman Austria.

Still, the Swiss 4-time Ironman World Champion and 4-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion closed with a 3:08:34 marathon to finish in 8:52:20 with a 26:35 margin of victory over runner-up Bianca Steurer of Germany. Heini Hartikainen of Finland finished 3rd, 52:28 behind Ryf.

With little at stake as she had already validated her Kona slot with a victory at Ironman Texas, Ryf finished 10:53 slower than Mirinda Carfrae’s 8:41:27 race record set in 2016.

Ryf led the swim with a 55:09 split that was one second in front of her Swiss countrywoman Michelle Derron. She followed that with a devastating 4:43:35 bike split that was 18:50 better than Bianca Steurer of Austria, her nearest pursuer, who was 26 minutes back at T2. Needing a 2:57 marathon to break the record, Ryf lacked her usual energy and finished with a 3:08:34 run which maintained her T2 lead.

"It was a tough day," said Ryf. "My body was not in a perfect mood today. I really enjoyed it, the crowd was amazing. [But] my energy in the end was not very high anymore."


Lukasz Wojt of Germany led the swim with a 45:29 split that gave him a 1:32 lead on Daniel Baekkegärd of Denmark, 3:37 on Alexander Gräf of Austria, 5:23 on Mark Bowstead of New Zealand and Ivan Tutukin of Russia, and 5:28 on Stenn Goetstouwers of Belgium and Andreas Giglmayr of Austria, while 2002 ITU World Champ Ivan Raña of Spain emerged 10th, 5:34 arrears.

Wojt maintained his lead through 33.6km of the bike leg, with Baekkegärd 4 seconds back, David Plese of Slovenia and Tutukin just over 4 minutes back, and Giglmayr, Goetstouwers and Bowstead riding close together 4 and a half minutes behind the leaders.

Wojt and Baekkegärd traded places for the last 110 kilometers, while building a 7 and one half minutes margin of a chase pack including Kristian Hogenhaug of Denmark, Plese, Tutukin and Goetstouwers.

After a race-best 4:27:28 bike split, Wojt led into T2 by 2:49 over Baekkegärd, 6:20 over Hogenhaug, and 9:22 over Goetstouwers.

Fighting leg cramps, Wojt stubbornly hung on to a 1:25 lead over Baekkegärd through 12.4 kilometers. While alternately walking to stave off the cramps, Wojt surrendered the lead at 14km. At the halfway point of the run, Baekkegärd led Wojt by 5:34, Hogenhaug by 8:51, Plese by 10:08, Goetstouwers by 13:16 and fast-running Michael Ruenz of Germany by 20:11.

After a second-best 2:53:11 marathon, Baekkegärd finished in 8:14:26 with an 11:27 margin of victory over Goetstouwers (2:58:17 run) and 11:33 over 3rd place David Plese. Wojt struggled through a 3:09:40 marathon to take 4th, 13:03 behind the winner, and Michael Benz closed fast with a race-best 2:46:21 marathon to take 5th, 1:03 behind Wojt.

Ironman Austria
Kärnten, Austria
July 7, 2019
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.



1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 8:52:20 S 55:09 T1 3:04 B 4:43:35 T2 2:00 R 3:08:34
2. Bianca Steurer (AUT) 9:18:55 S 1:02:24 T1 3:00 B 5:02:25 T2 3:05 R 3:08:02
3. Heini Hartikainen (FIN) 9:44:48 S 1:03:11 T1 3:35 B 5:08:25 T2 2:32 R 3:27:07
4. Frankie Sanjana (GBR) 9:50:51 S 1:06:55 T1 3:33 B 5:17:13 T2 3:29 R 3:21:13
5. Zeljka Saban Milicic (CRO) 10:06:31 S 56:47 T1 3:56 B 5:40:29 T2 3:29 R 3:21:51


1. Daniel Baekkegärd (DNK) 8:14:26 S 47:01 T1 3:23 B 4:28:22 T2 2:31 R 2:53:11
2. Stenn Goetstouwers (BEL) 8:25:53 S 50:57 T1 3:10 B 4:31:12 T2 2:19 R 2:58:17
3. David Plese (SLO) 8:25:59 S 52:11 T1 2:54 B 4:32:10 T2 2:33 R 2:56:14
4. Lukasz Wojt (GER) 8:27:29 S 45:29 T1 3:00 B 4:27:28 T2 1:54 R 3:09:40
5. Michael Ruenz (GER) 8:28:32 S 56:15 T1 3:07 B 4:40:09 T2 2:02 R 2:46:21