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Australian athletes thrilled the crowds at Port Macquarie.
Luke Bell (AUS) has landed on the podium dozens of times in his career, including a previous second and a third at Ironman Australia, but he was missing one thing: that elusive Ironman title. Today one of the most popular triathletes in Australia finally stuck that feather in his cap with a dominating win over Patrick Evoe (USA) at Ironman Australia.
After exiting the water over a minute down on fish-like Australian age grouper Ben Squiers, who had the fastest swim of the day in 45:52, Bell took the lead early in the bike and maintained his front position throughout. Close behind Bell, who swam a 47:25, were Australian age-groupers Paul O’Brien (48:59) and Scott Hobson (49:04). In the pro field, Monty Frankish (AUS) was the next out of the water with a 51:04 swim.
But, no one could touch Bell’s fastest of the day bike split (4:46:02). Evoe used the second fastest bike split (4:51:16) to work his way up after a slower swim. Evoe started the run well behind Bell but well ahead of Frankish, who biked a 4:59:50 to stay solidly in third.
On the run, Bell refused to relax, pushing the pace and extending his lead. His impressive 2:53:48 run, which included a long walk through chute high-fiving fans, got him to the finish line in 8:30:23. Evoe held on for second with a 2:54:58 run and finish of 8:42:58. Luke Whitmore (AUS) entered the run in fifth, behind Frankish and top age-grouper David Meade (AUS), who had the fourth-fastest bike of the day in 5:00:17. But, Whimore ran a 2:58:37 to finish five minutes ahead of Frankish, who ran a 3:13:45.
A small women’s field of just four professional athletes virtually assured that someone would be winning their first-ever Ironman title.
Just as in the men’s race, the first athlete out of the water was a speedy Australian age-grouper. Leanne Southwell blazed through the water in 49:46 and earned a nearly five minute lead over the next woman, pro Nicole Ward (AUS), who swam a 54:24. Eventual winner Rebecca Hoschke (AUS) exited in 57:05 with Tamsyn Hayes (NZL) (57:01).
Hayes and Hoschke quickly made up the time on the bike and pulled to the front by halfway through. Though they traded off the lead for the first half, Hayes faded and went on to bike a 5:22:44. Hoschke entered T2 in first after a 5:15:01 bike split, followed by Ange Castle (AUS), who used a race-best bike split (5:12:06) to make up time. Age-grouper Jessica Fleming (AUS) had the third-best bike split of the day (5:15:54) to start the run in third ahead of Hayes and Ward.
While Castle made up some of the gap to Hoschke in the first half of the run, even bringing it down to a minute around halfway, she couldn’t close it. Hoscke used 3:18:46 run split, the second fastest of the day, to finish first in 9:34:55, while Castle ran a 3:23:19 to finish in 9:41:38. Fleming held off a fast-closing Ward to round out the podium after a 3:30:20 run.
Port Macquarie, Australia – May 5, 2013
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run
1. Luke Bell 8:30:23
2. Patrick Evoe 8:42:58
3. Luke Whitmore 9:03:30
4. Monty Frankish 9:08:58
* 5. David Meade 9:09:24
1. Rebecca Hoschke 9:34:55
2. Ange Castel 9:41:58
*3. Jessica Fleming 9:50:46
4. Nicole Ward 9:52:31
*5. Michelle Duffield 10:12:01
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