The United States’ Andy Potts and Canada’s Heather Wurtele made big gains toward earning spots in Kona.

The United States’ Andy Potts and Canada’s Heather Wurtele made big gains toward earning spots on the Ironman World Championship start line with victories at today’s Ironman Coeur d’Alene race in Idaho.

PHOTOS: 2014 Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Men’s Race
Choppy conditions in Lake Coeur d’Alene played to Potts’ strengths as he took on the 2.4-mile swim all alone and was rewarded with a lead of over five minutes heading into T1. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR), Maik Twelsiek (GER) and defending champion Ben Hoffman (USA) followed him onto the bike course. The trio of strong riders worked to cut into Potts’ lead, with Twelsiek eventually breaking away and passing Potts for the top spot. The German entered T2 with a two-minute lead over Potts. Zyemtsev was next into transition at 11 minutes back, with Hoffman, who got tangled with an age grouper on the bike and spent significant time on the side of the road, coming in at nearly 14 minutes back. With the other contenders so far back, it became a question of if Twelsiek could match the speed of Potts. Potts quickly passed Twelsiek within the first few miles to regain the lead. He carried the lead through the remainder of the marathon and crossed the finish line for the victory at 8:25:44. Zyemtsev ran his way up to second, finishing less than three minutes back of Potts. Hoffman posted a blazing 2:43:59 run and had to settle for third after the frustration of the flat tire.

Women’s Race
Williamson led the women out of the tough swim with an uncharacteristically slow 58:30. American Jessica Smith was second at 42 seconds back, and Wurtele was in an impressive third at only 45 seconds back. Wurtele, who is used to making up gaps out of the swim with a strong bike ride, found the lead quickly and used a 5:22:19 bike split to head into T1 with a 7:29 lead over Smith and a 15:06 lead over Williamson. Once on the run, Smith fell back and Wurtele continued to show her strength. She turned in a 3:09:10 marathon on her way to the 9:34:32 victory. Just over a month removed from her Ironman Texas victory, Williamson didn’t show her usual dazzle on the run, but she cruised in for second at 9:50:07. Smith rounded out the top three.

2014 Ironman Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – June 29, 2014
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run

1. Andy Potts (USA) 8:25:44
2. Viktor Zyemtsev (UKR) 8:28:32
3. Ben Hoffman (USA) 8:29:12
4. Maik Twelsiek (GER) 8:34:19
5. Matt Hanson (USA) 8:39:22

1. Heather Wurtele (CAN) 9:34:32
2. Kelly Williamson (USA) 9:50:07
3. Jessica Smith (USA) 9:58:42
4. Olesya Prystayko (UKR) 10:07:59
5. Jennie Hansen (USA) 10:12:09

Complete results.