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Germany’s Timo Bracht and Hungary’s Erika Csomor came out on top at the inaugural Ironman Los Cabos, set in the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The pros were vying for a $75,000 total prize purse and 2,000 points in the Kona Pro Rankings.
In the men’s race, Bracht, a multiple Ironman champion and top-10 Kona finisher, used a race-best bike (4:37:34) to get to the front then pulled away on the marathon to take the victory. First out of the 2.4-mile swim, which is located in a protected cove and starts from Palmilla Beach, was Aussie Luke McKenzie in a time of 49:23, just steps ahead of a pack that included Andres Castillo, Brett Carter, Axel Zeebroek and Maik Twelsiek.
The 112-mile bike course takes athletes on the scenic tourist corridor highway that joins Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, and runs parallel to the Sea of Cortes. After leading out of the swim, McKenzie led early into the bike, and by 34 miles into the ride had gained a 1-minute advantage on the chase pack of three (Carter, Castillo and Zeebroek). Twelsiek lost his chip before the bike, so announcers were unsure of his whereabouts until later in the bike. Bracht and Switzerland’s Ronnie Schildknecht, two of the fastest men on the European Ironman circuit, had exited the water about four minutes behind McKenzie, but caught up to less than three minutes by 34 miles into the bike. By 87 miles into the bike, Bracht had pulled into the lead with Twelsiek just behind. Great Britain’s Paul Amey rode in fourth, less than two minutes back, and Canada’s Jeff Symonds, in his Ironman debut, rode in sixth. Bracht and Twelsiek entered T2, located in the heart of downtown San Jose, together, with Amey 3:30 back.
The three-lap, 26.2-mile run takes place on the streets of downtown San Jose. By 7 miles into the marathon, Bracht had opened a gap of 30 seconds on Twelsiek, and by 15 miles, the gap had increased to six minutes, a lead he held to the finish. The battle for the remaining two spots on the podium became a tight race. France’s Trevor Delsaut, after losing eight minutes in the swim, ran his way into second place with a 2:48:02 marathon, and multiple Ironman champion Jozsef Major of Hungary rounded out the podium using a 2:48:30 run split.
Throughout the women’s race were multiple lead changes, but Hungary’s Erika Csomor, the reigning Ironman Switzerland champ, used a solid run to edge out the runner-up and take the title.
Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby was first out of the water in 55:12, with almost a minute over the second woman, Katy Blakemore. By the 34-mile point in the bike, Belgium’s Sofie Goos, who exited the swim 90 seconds behind Vesterby, was at the front of the lead pack that included Vesterby and American April Gellatly. Two-thirds of the way through the bike, Germany’s Mareen Hufe, who exited the swim six minutes behind the leader, had pulled to the front, a minute up on Vesterby, while Goos and Gellatly slipped to two minutes back.
Hufe hammered the final miles, clocking an impressive 5:09:23 bike split, entering T2 4:05 ahead of Vesterby. Goos and Gellatly entered T2 more than 9 minutes off the lead. Vesterby gained back some time in the early miles of the run, pulling within 2 minutes of Hufe 7 miles in. Csomor, who raced without a timing chip all day, ran her way into the top three. Hufe held onto her lead until Vesterby passed her about halfway through the marathon. What happened in the final miles was unclear, as neither Csomor nor Vesterby had a functioning timing chip, but Csomor pulled into the lead in the final miles of the run, followed by Vesterby less than a minute later. American Lisa Ribes used a 3:07:15 marathon to take third.
Ironman Los Cabos
March 17, 2013 – Los Cabos, Mexico
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:26:48
2. Trevor Delsaut (FRA) 8:33:26
3. Jozsef Major (HUN) 8:33:57
4. Jeff Symonds (CAN) 8:37:09
5. Maik Twelsiek (GER) 8:37:43
1. Erika Csomor (HUN) 9:35:34
2. Michelle Vesterby (DEN) 9:36:31
3. Lisa Ribes (USA) 9:38:35
4. Mareen Hufe (GER) 9:40:50
5. Kathleen Calkins (USA) 9:46:55