Lionel Sanders of Canada and Helle Frederiksen of Denmark won Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston.
Sanders engaged in a duel with Andy Potts that put them even at T2, then posted a race-best 1:12:20 run to finish in 3:45:39 which gave him a 1:44 margin over Potts and 2:42 over 3rd-place finisher and fellow Canadian Cody Beals.
Frederiksen emerge from the swim 41 seconds behind Lauren Brandon of the U.S. and 3:55 ahead of Angela Naeth, turned in a 5th-best 2:19:49 bike split then closed the deal with a women’s 2nd-best 1:19:39 run to finish in 4:07:52 with a 5:58 margin on Naeth and 10:06 on 3rd-place finisher Emma-Kate Lidbury of Great Britain.
While he didn’t make the podium, Davide Giardini of Italy certainly stirred the drink in the men’s race through the halfway point of the run. Andy Potts nipped Giardini at the mat to earn the swim honors in equal 24 minutes flat, 1:49 better than Greg Bennett, 2:22 better than Cody Beals and 4:23 better than ride-run ace Sanders,
Giardini then took off on the bike like a rocket. By the time he was done, Giardini posted a sizzling-fast 1:59:14 bike split which was 3:11 faster than Sanders, 5:16 better than Beals and 7:45 better than Potts. Giardini, a roommate of 2-time USA Triathlon Collegiate men’s individual champion Rodolph von Berg in Boulder, began the run as the hunted with a 7:40 lead on Bennett, 7:47 on Sanders, 7:50 on Beals and 7:52 on Potts.
Running at a 5:55 per mile pace while his pursuers were charging at 5:15 pace, Giardini ran like Ichabod Crane fleeing the Headless Horseman and lasted for 8 miles before Sanders flew by.
At 10 miles into the run, Sanders held a 1:02 lead on Potts and 2:02 on Beals while Giardini held on in 4th, 2:15 down.
On this day, Sanders had the fleetest feet and ran 1:42 faster than Potts to take the win. Beals ran a 3rd-best 1:15:02 run split to take 3rd, 59 seconds behind Potts. Giardini ran 1:25:46 to hold on to 4th, 5:50 behind Sanders.
Lauren Brandon led the women's swim in 25:06, with Frederiksen trailing by 42 seconds, Brianna Baird 45 seconds down, Emma-Kate Lidbury 2:11 back, Kelly Williamson 2:13 behind and Angela Naeth 4:37 arrears. One week after her victory in New Orleans 70.3, Sarah Piampiano was 6:21 back after the swim.
On the bike leg, five women – Frederiksen, Naeth, Lidbury, Piampiano and Beth Shutt - posted 2:19 splits which left Frederiksen with a 2 minutes lead on Brandon and Lidbury, and 4 minutes on Naeth.
At 1.34 miles into the run, the dashing Dane led Lidbury by 1:56, Brandon by 1:57, Naeth by 4:39 and Piampiano by 6:36. At 5.73 miles, Frederiksen led Lidbury by 4:08, Naeth by 5:42 and Brandon by 6:00. At 8.7 miles, Frederiksen was drawing away to a 6:02 lead on Naeth, 6:12 on Lidbury, 9:11 on Brandon and 10:33 on Piampiano.
By the finish, Frederiksen’s 1:19:39 run was bettered only by Kelly Williamson’s race-best 1:19:08 split, which brought the Austin, Texas running star up to 4th place, 41 seconds behind Lidbury - and the podium.
”It is always amazing to win. I had a great day today. Today, I wanted to test a lot of things, the swim was great, I came second out of the water 30” behind Lauren Brandon, who is an amazing swimmer. So that was fine. On the bike I put the hammer down for the first 45km, so I could see how much I could hurt myself. The last 40km, I released the gas a bit. I was pretty confident, I was leading at that point, so if there was another girl that would overtake me, I would be able to sit in or to go with her and run away from her. Coming into T2, I only had a 50 second lead over Emma. My plan was to try to run really hard. It is always great running in the finish area and having another Ironman 70.3 victory. My next race will be Ironman 70.3 Boulder in 7 weeks,” said Frederiksen.
Ironman 70.3 Texas
April 26, 2015
S 1.2 mi. / B 56 mi. / R 13.1 mi.
1. Lionel Sanders (CAN) 3:45:39
2. Andy Potts (USA) 3:47:22
3. Cody Beals (CAN) 3:48:21
4. Davide Giardini (ITA) 3:51:29
5. Barrett Brandon (USA) 3:55:19
6. Greg Bennett (AUS) 3:56:41
7. Eric Limkemann (USA) 3:57:06
8. Raul Tejada (GTM) 3:57:23
9. Robert Wade (IRL) 3:57:57
10. Brad Williams (USA) 3:59:24
1. Helle Frederiksen (DNK) 4:07:52
2. Angela Naeth (CAN) 4:13:50
3. Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR) 4:17:58
4. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:18:39
5. Sara Piampiano (USA) 4:20:19
6. Beth Shutt (USA) 4:21:03
7. Lauren Brandon (USA) 4:21:28
8. Lauren Barnett (USA) 4:24:37
9. Alice Hector (GBR) 4:27:20
10. Christina Jackson (USA) 4:28:41
11. Rebecca Preston (AUS) 4:29:38