Source: News Corp Australia
Angela Naeth finished in sixth place at the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne on the weekend following a gutsy race that saw her in third place for most of the day pulling off the fastest bike split of 4:51 and an overall time of 9:21:11. Caroline Steffen (Austria; 08:57:57) took the women’s title in 8:57:57 while Mary Beth Ellis showed she’s on a comeback taking second in 9:02:15. Fellow American Kim Schwabenbauer finished third in 09:10:06.
Dirk Bockel of the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team won the race with a time of 08:01:02. Australian Paul Matthews, who is coached by Craig Alexander was second very close behind in 08:02:14, and his compatriote David Dellow was third in 8:03:07.
“This is really, really amazing. But what a hell of a day. I struggled on the bike. The first two laps were fine, but in the third loop I felt terrible. I wasn’t sure I could hang on. . . . What a run though. I had to be patient, but in the end it all worked out. This victory means a lot. There was so much pressure. To get the Kona points after not finishing in Hawaii last year, to win a big race again, to overcome the hip issues that plagued me this winter… But it all came together in the last weeks I spent here,” said Bockel.
Despite being elated for his athletes Matthews, Craig Alexander shed tears as he announced his retirement and finished in fifth place. “I wanted to pull off some magic today and go out on top but I couldn’t,” said the multiple world triathlon champion.
Alexander will continue racing half ironman events while pursing a new career as a coach.
“My body is like a rental car that has done a few too many miles. I’m driving round with the hand break on.”
Alexander, who contracted a throat infection this week wished his body had obeyed him out there.
“The competitor in me wants to be up the front…But my body just doesn’t recover like it used to….I don’t want to go through pain like that again,” he continued.