Marino Vanhoenacker won Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg with an effort that reminded us of the form he had prior to his injury. Lisa Hütthaler took the women's title.
The water temperatures in the river Moselle were 22 degrees Celsius (71 Fahrenheit) and that made this a wetsuit legal affair. After a relatively late 1pm start, Axel Zeebroek managed to be first out of the water in the men's competition but he had a few other competitors right on his heels.
The front group led by Zeebroek and German Nils Frommhold pushed hard through the Moselle valley but once the climbing started the attacks came. Zeebroek was the first to really charge, but he was soon after passed by Marino Vanhoenacker who had reeled in the early swim leaders. Once Vanhoenacker had moved into the lead he charged alone into the bike-run transition with a race best bike split of 2:08:02 and a 2 minute advantage over Frommhold and Zeebroek.
Out on the run Frommhold started to inch closer towards Vanhoenacker, but in the second half of the run the Belgian started to pull away again. Vanhoenacker crossed the line first in 3:47:47 with a 1:12:16 half marathon. Frommhold's 1:12:01 allowed him to get away from Zeebroek and secure second place ahead of the Belgian Uplace athlete. The fastest run split of the day belonged to Alberto Moreno from Spain whose 1:09:42 gave him 6th place.
Céline Schärer swam 24:25 and that gave her a 2.5 minute edge over most of the competition, including 70.3 St. Pölten and 70.3 Mallorca winner Lisa Hütthaler from Austria. Brits Susie Hignett and Alice Hector came out of the water right behind the infamous Austrian.
Hütthaler then went to work hard on the bike and recorded a race best 2:24:09 bike split that bested the next fastest female Pro by at least 6 minutes. Next into T2 was Hignett, but everyone else had lost even more time. Schärer after that fine opening swim biked 2:33:34, but it would be her 1:28:11 run that really undid her ambitions.
Hütthaler started the run with an almost 6.5 minute advantage over Hignett, and while this chasing Brit ran superbly fast with a 1:1719, she ran out of time and distance. When it was all said and done Hütthaler had taken another title, with Hignett 1:37 behind her in second place. Fellow Brit Alice Hector rounded out the podium with a race best 1:17:11 run.
Ergo-Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg
Region Moselle, Luxembourg / June 21, 2014
1.9k swim / 90k bike / 21.1k run
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 3:47:47
2. Nils Frommhold (GER) 3:49:05
3. Axel Zeebroek (BEL) 3:51:51
4. Manuel Kueng (SUI) 3:52:23
5. Romain Guillaume (FRA) 3:56:11
1. Lisa Hütthaler (AUT) 4:17:03
2. Susie Hignett (GBR) 4:18:40
3. Alice Hector (GBR) 4:23:45
4. Céline Schärer (SUI) 4:29:29
5. Bianca Steurer (AUT) 4:29:52