McCormack, Wallenhorst Win Close Races At Ironman 70.3 Austria

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Australia’s Chris McCormack and Germany’s Sandra Wallenhorst narrowly win in St. Polten at the Ironman 70.3 Austria.

While the victories of Australia’s Chris McCormack and Germany’s Sandra Wallenhorst at Ironman 70.3 Austria came as no surprise to many, it is likely few expected both races to be as close as they were. McCormack crossed the finish line a mere three seconds before Belgium’s Marino Vanhoenacker, while Wallenhorst didn’t lead until on the run course and won by a margin of 77 seconds over Lucie Zelenkova of the Czech Republic.

Estonia’s Marko Albert and Hungary’s Adam Molnar led the men out of the water around the 23-minute mark. More than a minute later, Hungary’s Csaba Kuttor and McCormack led the chase pack into T1. While Vanhoenacker trailed McCormack by only five seconds out of the water, the gap was enough to put the Belgian seven spots back of the Aussie heading onto the bike. Both McCormack and Vanhoenacker easily erased the deficit the faster swimmers had built and headed onto the run in first and second position respectively. Despite leading the charge on the bike, neither of the leaders posted the fastest bike split. That honor went to last year’s winner, Massimo Cigana of Italy, who worked his way up to fourth after coming out of the water in 31st position. Once onto the run, the race continued to be a two-man show with McCormack and Vanhoenacker running side by side throughout the entire half-marathon. McCormack and Vanhoenacker displayed similar race styles, as the biggest difference in their splits came from the five-second differential McCormack had over Vanhoenacker on the swim. In the end, McCormack got the slight edge and won the race with a time of 3:54:15. Vanhoenacker crossed the line at 3:54:18 for second position. Rounding out the podium was Cigana, who ran a 1:12:22 half-marathon to propel to third.

While the women’s race was equally as exciting as the men’s, Wallenhorst’s victory came with some come-from-behind action. Zelenkova was solo in leading the women out of the water with a time of 24:30. Nearly a minute later, Austria’s Eva Dollinger and New Zealand’s Gina Ferguson headed into T1. Wallenhorst immediately had work to do as she exited the water in eleventh position, more than four minutes behind Zelenkova. Once onto the bike, Zelenkova maintained her lead with Dollinger and Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen working hard to catch her. Behind the trio, Wallenhorst was making up the deficit from the swim and posted the fastest bike split at 2:34:37. Despite heading onto the run in fourth position, Wallenhorst used her momentum to overtake the three ahead of her. In the end, Wallenhorst’s run time of 1:21:37 gave her the victory and an overall time of 4:28:46. Zelenkova earned second with a time of 4:30:03, with Steffen coming in third at 4:31:50.

Ironman 70.3 Austria

St. Polten, Vienna, Austria

May 24, 2009

1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

Men (Swim, Bike, Run, Total)

1. Chris McCormack (AUS) 00:24:16 02:15:21 01:11:57 03:54:15

2. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 00:24:21 02:15:22 01:11:59 03:54:18

3. Massimo Cigana (ITA) 00:26:11 02:14:40 01:12:22 03:56:22

4. Marko Albert (EST) 00:23:18 02:16:21 01:13:35 03:56:26

5. Aaron Farlow (AUS) 00:24:20 02:17:40 01:11:28 03:56:37

Women (Swim, Bike, Run, Total)

1. Sandra Wallenhorst (GER) 00:28:47 02:34:37 01:21:37 04:28:46

2. Lucie Zelenkova (CZE) 00:24:30 02:36:54 01:24:44 04:30:03

3. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 00:26:08 02:36:24 01:25:10 04:31:50

4. Eva Dollinger (AUT) 00:25:26 02:36:45 01:26:47 04:32:10

5. Sussana Skylv (DEN) 00:28:09 02:35:51 01:25:26 04:33:27

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