Ironman 70.3: Aernouts and Pallant win in Florida, Dreitz drama

In triathlon, the fastest runners’ legs often win. Andreas Dreitz had to experience that once more at the Ironman 70.3 Florida in Haines City. The man from Upper Franconia led the race well into the half marathon before he and Matt won the race over 1.9 km swimming, 90 km cycling and 21.1 km running in 3:47:42 hours Hanson was intercepted from the USA. The women’s race, which was won by the British Emma Pallant by a large margin, was less exciting.

The swimming in Lake Eva was dominated by the internationally unknown Russian Alexander Khalamanov, who stormed into the first transition area after 26:29 minutes, followed by the Canadian Jackson Laundry (+22 sec) and the Brazilian veteran Igor Amorelli (+46 sec). Andi Dreitz was sixth, only 58 seconds behind the leaders.

Radexpress with Dreitz and Ditlev

The field then sorted itself out on the first 20 kilometers of the bike course. Dreitz took the lead and only the Dane Magnus Ditlev could match the pace of the German. Behind the leading duo at this point, Laundry was the first pursuer, a good minute behind. The German-Danish Radexpress was now really putting pressure on it and the pursuers were now more and more behind. Dreitz and Ditlev had just over three minutes ahead of their closest pursuers by the time they reached the finish line. It was Bart Aernouts who parked his bike in third place, followed a few seconds later by Briton Joe Skipper. Laundry was already four and a half minutes behind in fifth place and the US running machine Matt Hanson in ninth place at the start of the half marathon was even more than six minutes behind the front.

The last section started as expected. Magnus Ditlev quickly lost touch with Dreitz and the strong pursuers, led by Aernouts, could not make up too much time on the Upper Franconia in the first half of the half marathon. Aernouts (+1: 54 min) followed behind Ditlev (+ 54 sec) in front of Laundry (+3: 41 min) and Hanson (+4: 04 min) had only slowly got his nimble running legs going.

The difference: Aernouts runs 1:13:02, Hanson 1:10:38 – Dreitz only 1:17:28

When the last six kilometers were rung in, the 36-year-old Belgian had stalked Dreitz with his long stride up to 30 seconds and Hanson was only two minutes behind. The Belgian and the US-American got a second breath, spurred on by the dwindling residues, while Dreitz’s legs were getting heavier and heavier. With three kilometers to go, his dream of victory was over and Bart Aernouts took the lead. The Hawaii runner-up in 2018 triumphed in 3:47:42 hours ahead of Matt Hanson (3:48:20), who also overtook Dreitz with a 1:10:38 half marathon, who finished in 3:49:04 hours on the safe third place to the finish at Lake Eva. Jackson Laundry finished fourth, ahead of South African Bradley Weiss and Filipe Azevedo from Portugal. Marcus Herbst from Leipzig, who was sixth at Ironman 70.3 Texas last week, had to cancel his start at short notice due to illness.

Emma Pallant dominates the women’s competition

In swimming, the American Sonja Catana set the fastest swimming time in 27:30 minutes. It took a good minute before Emma Pallant switched to her bike in second place. The Briton then showed that she was rightly considered a top favorite after Skye Mönch (USA) and Jeanni Metzler (RSA) did not compete. Pallant soon took the lead and after 45 kilometers the American Heather Jackson (+1: 30 min) was her first pursuer. Lisa Becharas (USA / + 2: 42 min) led the next athletes there.

Pallant was able to extend the lead over Jackson to 1:43 min on the bike, the other pursuers, including the strong American Lesley Smith, only laced their running shoes more than six minutes behind. Emma Pallant ran towards a safe victory in 4:18:03 hours. The fight for second place was a little more exciting, which ended in favor of Lesley Smith (4:23:05), who was clearly relegated to third place by Heather Jackson (4:27:42).


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