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A strong pro field descended upon America’s second oldest city today to race Georgia’s ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta.
Written by: Erin Beresini
Seven-time Ironman champion, Ukranian Viktor Zyemtsev, was out for another win despite having battled a lower leg injury throughout much of the 2011 season. Last year’s winner, Ukranian Maksym Kriat, was also expected to put up a fight. But in the end, Zyemtsev took the win after running the fastest half-marathon of the day in 1:13:20.
On the ladies’ side, Magali Tisseyre was pegged as a race favorite, having won IM 70.3 Mooseman and Phillipines in 2010, but she did not start, leaving the women’s race wide open. Two-time 70.3 champ, Brit Emma-Kate Lidbury seized the opportunity and nabbed the win.
Kyle Leto charged to the front of the pack during the swim on this warm and humid day, posting a blazing fast 19-minute flat swim time. About 1:20 back was a pack of medal contenders, including Zyemtsev, Kriat and Tim Berkel, who all exited the water within five seconds of each other. This race all came down to the run, as the top five men came off of the hilly one-loop bike course incredibly close, making this race come down to a test of true grit. Zyemtsev was able to run the fastest, posting a 1:13:20 half marathon through downtown Augusta for a 3:47:15 finishing time. Kriat ran a 1:15:44 to take second, while 3x IM Champion, Australian Tim Berkel, ran a 1:18 flat to take third.
With race favorite, Tisseyre, out of the race, it was anyone’s guess how this race would play out. Lidbury and Svetlana Blazevic set the pace on the swim, exiting the water in just under 22 minutes. Just as they did in the men’s race, the top spots came down to the run, as American Heather Jackson and the UK’s Lidbury came off of the bike very close to each other, with Amanda Lovato a few minutes down. Lidbury posted the fastest female half marathon time of the day, running to victory in 1:27:49. Lovato posted the second fastest half marathon of the day, 1:28:36, to come in second place, while Jackson had the slowest run but still managed to slip onto the podium in third.
Ironman 70.3 Augusta
Augusta, Ga. – Sept. 25, 2011
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Viktor Zyemtsev 3:47:15
2. Maxym Kriat 3:49:34
3. Tim Berkel 3:51:54
4. Stanislav Krylov 3:55:28
5. Kyle Leto 3:56:17
1. Emma-Kate Lidbury 4:19:31
2. Amanda Lovato 4:25:54
3. Heather Jackson 4:28:30
4. Tamara Kozulina 4:29:57
5. Amy Kloner 4:30:12