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Schildknecht, Matter Brilliant on Home Turf at Ironman Switzerland

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Switzerland’s Ronnie Schildknecht looks poised to move up from his fourth-place finish at Kona last season. The super-biker was nothing short of dominant at Ironman Switzerland today, finishing 11 minutes in front of runner-up Stefan Riesen, also from Switzerland. Countrywoman Sibylle Matter matched Schildknecht’s performance, winning by almost 11 minutes over Monika Lehmann (SUI).

Schildknecht’s 52:48 swim was only good enough for eighth-place out of the water, but he quickly caught and passed the early leaders on the bike. His 4:34:44 ride on the challenging course gave him a comfortable lead at the second transition. Twenty-four-year-old age-grouper Romain Guilaume was second overall at T2, four minutes back of Schildknecht. The Swiss-ace easily strode to victory with a 2:50:36 marathon, putting him at the line in 8:20:00. Riesen finished 11:10 later, with Germany’s Torsten Abel taking the final podium position.

Matter was the first of the pro women to exit the swim in 52:51 and set off onto the ride with three minutes on the rest of the contenders. Matter’s 5:07:50 ride gave her an even greater cushion at T2, and like the men’s race, the women’s race seemed to be over within the first few miles of the run. Matter finished the marathon in 3:11:56, good enough for a 9:14:35 finish. Countrywoman Lehmann finished next in 9:25:05, with Dane Lisbeth Kristensen finishing another 30 seconds back.

Ironman Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland – July 12, 2009
2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run

Men
1. Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI)    8:20:00
2. Stefan Riesen (SUI)        8:31:10
3. Torsten Abel (GER)        8:36:38
4. Uwe Kappelhoff (GER)        8:39:18
5. Pieter Helin (BEL)            8:39:55*

*age-group athlete

Women
1. Sibylle Matter (SUI)        9:14:35
2. Monika Lehmann (SUI)        9:25:05
3. Lisbeth Kristensen (DEN)        9:25:37
4. Sarah Schutz (SUI)            9:29:13
5. Donna Phelan (CAN)        9:31:30