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New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone returned to the race course on Sunday, Nov. 25 about five months after a bike collision left him in serious condition in the hospital.
The crash came after Bozzone won Ironman New Zealand in his 10th attempt at the race back in March and was expected to be a contender for the Ironman World Championship podium in October after finishing a career-best sixth place in 2017.
Bozzone slowly returned to training in late July and went to Kona for a training camp in September with hopes that he would be ready to toe the line at the Ironman World Championship. After the camp, Bozzone made the decision to pull out of the race saying, “Unfortunately my body, at just under 3 months following the horrendous crash, isn’t quite ready to compete at the level necessary and a level that would reflect the respect I have for the event and the competitors. The fire in my belly is still burning brightly…”
Despite issues with his Achilles that limited his run training, Bozzone made the decision to compete at Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney. He turned in a stellar performance, swimming a 24:47 swim, a 2:01:09 bike, and a 1:15:28 run to narrowly take the win over Sam Appleton (AUS) in 3:43:26.
“I never dreamed my first race back would have such a fairytale ending, but I will take it,” Bozzone wrote on Instagram… “I am not going to lie, it’s been a tough 5 months for me and my family, I never took my eyes off my comeback and to see it all pay off–well nothing feels better.”
As long as his Achilles holds up, Bozzone intends to race Ironman Western Australia next week, where he is the two-time defending champion.