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Written by: Liz Hichens
Leanda Cave crushed the field and earned a new course record, while Dirk Bockel had to sprint to the finish to earn his victory at the Ironman 70.3 Florida.
While the drama and excitement ran deep for both the men and women’s races at the Ironman 70.3 Florida, they played out in sharp contrast to each other. Great Britain’s Leanda Cave demolished the women’s field and established a new course record earning her first victory of the season. On the men’s side, the outcome of the race was not decided until the very end with the top-five men all crossing the line within four minutes of each other. In the end, Dirk Bockel of Luxemburg held off Luke Bell of Australia for the victory.
Strong swimmers were in full-force on Sunday, with Bockel leading the men out of the water with a time of 24:54. He was followed closely by American David Kahn and Kiwi Bryan Rhodes. Despite being eighth out of the water, Bell quickly erased the deficit and took the lead with Rhodes and Bockel giving chase. Rhodes led the pack heading into T2, with Bockel and Bell following close behind. It looked like the three-way battle would continue until Rhodes dropped off the pace, leaving Bockel and Bell to duke it out. The two ran together throughout the entire run. Bockel used his Olympic experience to push the pace to the finish line for the win at 3:54:40. Bell crossed the line three seconds later at 3:54:43. Last year’s runner-up, Santiago Ascenco of Brazil, rounded out the podium at 3:56:25.
The ladies’ field also featured fast swimmers with a new pro, American Brooke Davison, leading the field into T1 after swimming 26:42. Cave and German Nina Kraft were hot on her heals, exiting the water seconds later. Once on the bike, Cave quickly left the rest of the field behind and headed into T2 with more than a four-minute lead. Behind her, Canada’s Magali Tisseyre posted a strong bike time to head onto the run in second. Cave’s lead only expanded once on the run and she crossed the finish line with a new course record of 4:15:47. New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn posted a similar run time as Cave and worked her way to second with a total time of 4:24:00. Tisseyre managed to maintain a strong position with her run and earned third with a time of 4:24:23.
Ironman 70.3 Florida
May 17, 2009
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Dirk Bockel (LUX) 3:54:40
2. Luke Bell (AUS) 3:54:43
3. Santiago Ascenco (BRA) 3:56:25
4. Paul Amey (GBR) 3:57:19
5. Alessandro Degasperi (USA) 3:58:43
1. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:15:47
2. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:24:00
3. Magali Tisseyre (CAN) 4:24:23
4. Amy Marsh (USA) 4:27:24
5. Nina Kraft (GER) 4:29:04