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The United States’ Andy Potts and the Netherlands’ Yvonne Van Vlerken took Ironman victories today in Cozumel, less than two months after each competed at the Ironman World Championship.
Potts started the day in the usual fashion of leading the men out of the swim. His time of 45:17 was nearly 90 seconds faster then the next fastest swimmer, Stephen Bayliss of Great Britain. Potts headed out onto the three-loop bike course and held the advantage for most of the ride. Balazs Csoke of Hungary eventually joined him. The pair rode close together for much of the remaining bike ride before being caught by Argentina’s Oscar Galindez and Eduardo Sturla, and the United States’ Michael Lovato. With all of these changes taking place near the end of the bike, the group of Galindez, Sturla, Lovato, Csoke and Potts headed onto the marathon within 30 seconds of each other. Potts proved early on to be the enforcer of a strong marathon pace. He took the lead in the first few miles and never looked back, posting a 2:52:36 marathon to earn the 8:16:14 victory and a new course record. Fellow American Lovato capped a stellar day off with a 2:59:05 marathon to earn second. Sturla finished in third place.
In the women’s race, American Amanda Stevens established an early commanding lead thanks to a 46:48 swim time. Fellow Americans Dede Griesbauer and Bree Wee were second and third out of the swim, but both found themselves far behind Stevens. Two of the strongest female cyclists in the sport in American Tyler Stewart and Van Vlerken were in even worse shape, with Van Vlerken posting a time of 56:59 and Stewart posting a time of 59:17. It took the pair nearly the entire 112-mile bike ride to find the front, but they eventually took the top two positions. Stewart’s 4:47:24 bike split helped her lead out of T2, with Van Vlerken trailing in second. Stewart held her lead through the first of three laps, but lost the top spot to a fast-running Van Vlerken. Van Vlerken defended her 2009 victory in Cozumel with a time of 9:07:25. Stewart struggled on the back half of the marathon, but still managed to finish in second place. Stevens finished third in her Ironman debut.
Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico – Nov. 28, 2010
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Andy Potts (USA) 8:16:14
2. Michael Lovato (USA) 8:22:17
3. Eduardo Sturla (ARG) 8:24:48
4. Jacques Zeebroek (BEL) 8:28:52
5. Andriy Yastrebov (UKR) 8:32:46
1. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 9:07:25
2. Tyler Stewart (USA) 9:23:44
3. Amanda Stevens (USA)