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Australia’s Craig Alexander and the United States’ Meredith Kessler earned important wins at today’s Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens. Both sit comfortably in the top five of their respective Kona Pro Rankings and today was a good sign of their forms at this point in the season. Alexander has chosen to race minimally this year and this was a good chance to see his form is on track for another attempt at the Ironman World Championship. Kessler’s win continues her amazing comeback after a bike crash at Ironman 70.3 Eagleman put her in the hospital and left her with a concussion. Kessler won last weekend’s 70.3 Vineman triathlon and backed it up today with a dominating win.
American Allen Gardner was the first man out of Lake Stevens in 22:29. Australian’s Paul Matthews and Luke Bell followed less than 30 seconds later. Alexander, who usually comes out of the swim with the front group, came into T1 90 seconds back of the leader with some work to do. Bell quickly grabbed the front spot on the bike, with Alexander charging hard further back. By the time the men reached T2, Alexander, Bell and Elliot Holtham (CAN) were together in the front. Through five miles the trio was still together out front and it was evident the winner would come from this group. Alexander was finally able to build a small gap around the 10-mile mark. His 1:12:49 half marathon gave him the 3:55:23 win. Bell easily held on for third, finishing in 3:55:59. Holtham earned third.
Kessler kicked off her day in the lead with a fast swim of 25:18. Canadian Tenille Hoogland followed 27 seconds later, with the rest of the women coming into T1 at least two minutes back. Despite her strong swim and her pedigree as a strong cyclist, Kessler did not maintain her lead to T2. Canada’s Melanie McQuaid went all-out on the bike to catch Kessler in the late miles of the bike. McQuaid held a slim seven-second lead over Kessler to start the run. Kessler quickly regained her top spot and didn’t lose it to the finish line. She capped her day off with a 1:21:24 half marathon to earn the 4:18:05 victory. McQuaid finished second five minutes later.
Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens
Lake Stevens, Wash. – July 21, 2013
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:55:23
2. Luke Bell (AUS) 3:55:59
3. Elliot Holtham (CAN) 3:59:40
4. Paul Matthews (AUS) 4:04:44
5. Matt Lieto (USA) 4:07:13
1. Meredith Kessler (USA) 4:18:05
2. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 4:23:22
3. Kate Bevilaqua (AUS) 4:33:42
4. Jeanni Seymour (RSA) 4:36:41
* Lauren Barnett (USA) 4:29:01
* Ashley Johnson (USA) 4:34:06
*Age-group athletes with top-five overall finish times.
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