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Kienle and Hauschildt capture Ironman 70.3 World Championship

Heather Wurtele finishes tenth.

Sebastian Kienle (GER) defended his title, while Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) won her second in three years at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Henderson, Nevada. The pair battled unprecedented rainy conditions that persisted through most of the bike before the sun finally made an appearance for the run. It made for another day of tough racing as Kienle finished in 3:54:02 and Hauschildt recorded a winning time of 4:20:07.

In the men’s race, everyone in Nevada knew what it would take for Sebastian Kienle to defend his title: he’d need to bike away from a stellar field of IRONMAN champions and Olympic medalists, then hold all those speedy runners off for 13.1 miles of running.

Australian Josh Amberger led out of the water, with American Andy Potts on his heels. Out on the bike course the race quickly formed into a series of large groups along the road, with Amberger eventually pulling away from the first group heading into the turnaround in Lake Mead State Park at about 20 miles. By that point the lead chase group contained many of the men considered to be contenders for the win: 2008 Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno (GER), Potts, Canadian Brent McMahon, Kienle, Australian Joe Gambles, American Tim O’Donnell, New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty and fellow Kiwi 2008 champion Terenzo Bozzone.

The Kienle express took off shortly after that, blowing by Amberger and flying to the transition area, steadily gaining time on the men behind. By the time he came off the bike Kienle’s lead was about three minutes on a group that included Potts, Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild, Aussie Joe Gambles, Bermuda’s Tyler Butterfield, Bozzone, Australian Tim Reed, Frodeno and Docherty.

Starting the run it was Frodeno who seemed most likely to run his way to the front – competing in only his second 70.3 race, he pushed the pace early and rapidly gained time on his countryman. Bozzone hung on to Frodeno and eventually caught back up, only to suddenly find himself alone as Frodeno suddenly dropped from the race.

From there on in it became apparent that Kienle was going to do it again. Bozzone got the lead down to just over two minutes, but could never get closer. Bozzone finally held on for second, with Gambles running his way to third, Potts hanging in for fourth and fellow Aussie Reed rounding out the top five.

Top 10 professional men’s results are below:

1.     Sebastian Kienle                   GER                   3:54:02

2.     Terenzo Bozzone                  NZL                    3:56:06

3.     Joe Gambles                        AUS                   3:56:55

4.     Andy Potts                           USA                   3:57:36

5.     Tim Reed                              AUS                   3:57:42

6.     Kevin Collington                   USA                   3:57:48

7.     Leon Griffin                          AUS                   3:58:17

8.     Timothy O’Donnell                USA                   3:59:36

9.     Tyler Butterfield                    BMU                  3:59:42

10.  Will Clarke                            GBR                   3:59:56

While the women’s field was thought to be one of the most competitive put together in years, the day quickly became the Melissa Hauschildt show. The 2011 champion came out of the water 3:20 behind race leader Anabelle Luxford (AUS), who did what she could to hold off the inevitable charge on the bike from her countrywoman. Luxford rode extremely well through the early portions of the bike and managed to stay clear of a group that included Germany’s Svenja Bazlen, Sweden’s Olympic silver medalist, Lisa Norden, and defending champion Leanda Cave.

The lead four pack would eventually regroup, only to be passed by a fast-moving Hauschildt at about 40 miles. The 2011 champ spent much of last year injured, but has returned to her winning ways in 2013. While she crashed in her first race of the year, the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Auckland, she has followed that up with wins in every other race she’s competed in. The day wasn’t quite a forgone conclusion, though – just under two miles from the finish of the bike Hauschildt crashed on the slick roads, landing on the same hip that she hurt in January. She bounced up and was still first into T2, though, and promptly put on a running show that left the outcome of the race in little doubt.

Luxford was second out onto the run course, followed closely by Bazlen. Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf remained, in theory, in contention for a podium spot at 2:46, but Heather Jackson was just over a minute behind and seemingly determined to improve on her third place finish a year ago.

There was little suspense about who the champion would be, but figuring out the rest of the podium spots offered some excitement. Jackson passed Ryf early in the run, but it took until the last mile before the American passed Luxford for second. Fourth went to Scotland’s Catriona Morrison, who passed Bazlen in the chute.

Top 10 professional women’s results are below:

1.     Melissa Hauschildt                AUS                   4:20:07

2.     Heather Jackson                   USA                   4:25:19

3.     Annabel Luxford                   AUS                   4:25:59

4.     Catriona Morrison                 GBR                   4:27:50

5.     Svenja Bazlen                       GER                   4:27:52

6.     Daniela Ryf                          SUI                    4:28:46

7.     Lisa Huetthaler                      AUT                   4:29:58

8.     Lisa Norden                          SWE                  4:31:44

9.     Kelly Williamson                   USA                   4:32:30

10.  Heather Wurtele                    CAN                   4:33:11

The 2013 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is the culmination of 60 global IRONMAN® 70.3® events. The endurance event took athletes through a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. The swim was held in Lake Las Vegas and the bike traveled through a challenging course that included rolling hills highlighting the unique desert beauty. The run consisted of three laps that went through some of Henderson’s beautiful neighborhoods as athletes made their way toward the finish line at Henderson Pavilion. The race offered a professional prize purse of $200,000. Each age group winner at the 2013 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship automatically qualified for the 2014 event in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada.