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Ryf swam a 6th-fastest 26:35 split against a mild current on the Tennessee River and overcame a 1:12 deficit to take a 56 seconds lead after a steep climb 8 miles into the bike course. She then crushed all opposition with a 2:20:21 bike split - 5:25 better than the next best effort of Laura Philipp of Germany - that gave her an 8:42 lead at T2. Ryf then cruised to a third-fastest 1:22:06 half marathon to finish in 4:11:59 with a 6:37 margin of victory over Emma Pallant of Great Britain and 7:41 over 3rd place finisher Laura Philipp of Germany.
Pallant came back from 7th place and an 8:54 deficit after the bike with a race-best 1:19:52 run that advanced her to 2nd place. Philipp came back from a 4:33 deficit after the swim with a tied-for-2nd-best 2:25:46 bike split that put her in 2nd place at T2. Philipp then closed with a 1:21:17 run that surrendered second place to Pallant but gave her the final spot on the podium.
This victory gave Ryf redemption after a disappointing 4th place finish at this 70.3 World Championship last year in Australia, and added to her Ironman 70.3 World Championship golds in 2014 and 2015.
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Six miles into the run, Pallant made inroads, but Ryf still commanded a 6:30 lead. With that cushion, Ryf could give up 1 minute a mile to Pallant and still win.
Fighting for the last spot on the podium were Philipp (+7:49), Frederiksen (+8:15), True (+8:38), Luxford (+9:09), and Wurtele (+9:57). With an up and down hilly course, strength runners had the best chance.
After 7 miles, Pallant sliced another 11 seconds from Ryf and increased her advantage to 1:30 over Philipp, 1:57 on Frederiksen and 2:21 on True.
By Mile 9.4, Ryf stopped the bleeding of her lead, maintaining a 6:16 lead on Pallant. Fighting for the bronze, 3rd through 6th place, were Philipp, Frederiksen, True, and Luxford - 90 seconds apart.
At 11 miles, Sarah True surged past Helle Frederiksen for 4th place but Philipp remained 90 seconds ahead of True in 3rd place.
After a 1:22:06 run, Ryf finished in 4:11:59 with a 6:37 margin of victory over Pallant (race-best 1:19:52 run), 7:41 over 3rd place Philipp (1:21:17 run), 9:41 over 4th place True (1:22:46 run), and 10:13 ahead of 5th place Frederiksen (1:23:42 run).