Defending Champ Holly Lawrence Pulls out of 70.3 Worlds Mid-Race

Photo: Twitter.com/Ironmantri

Defending champion Holly Lawrence abandons the Ironman 70.3 World Championship on brutal bike leg in Chattanooga, Tenn.

It was evident from the start, it might not be a good day for defending world champion Holly Lawrence at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Saturday.

The 27-year-old from Wales exited the swim 2 minutes 17 seconds behind the race leaders, which included two-time 70.3 world champ Daniela Ryf (SUI), and had to motor to stay in contention over a brutal 56-mile (90.1km) bike leg featuring a leg-smashing 3,408 feet (1,039m) in elevation gain.

However, in a rather shocking move the second-placed Lawrence, who trailed Ryf by 3:29, called it quits at the 23-mile mark to end her bid to defend her crown.

“I just didn’t have it right from the swim, from the get-go,” admitted an exhausted Lawrence awaiting pickup on the course. “I just was exhausted and I just didn’t have the fight today.

“I was just hoping that I’d be able to push something on the bike, and even on the bike my legs were just dead.”

Lawrence appeared to have fallen with a bloodied knee, but gave no initial indication of a crash. She did admit prior to the race that she had been battling a leg injury she had suffered while exiting an ocean swim.

Check back to Triathlete.com for complete post-race coverage.