Results from Ironman 70.3 Cairns
Courtney Atkinson and Samantha Warriner take top honours.
IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns proved to be all about the bike, as former ITU athlete Courtney Atkinson set up his first IRONMAN 70.3 win with a strong bike leg in brutally windy conditions.
All the pre-race talk centred on the battle between former ITU stars Brad Kahlefeldt, Courtney Atkinson, and current IRONMAN World Champion Pete Jacobs.
In the end it was the former ITU boys who had speed to burn with Atkinson taking the top spot on the podium, Kahlefeldt in second and Tim Reed third.
“The head wind was brutal on the run, the wind was really tough today,” Atkinson said.
“It’s not easy, I went through 10km on the run and I felt pretty good, then the time just kept slipping away and I needed to just try and get to the finish.”
A group of eight athletes including Atkinson, Jacobs, Kahlefeldt and Reed exited the water within seconds of each other, but it was on the bike where Atkinson set up his win with a 2:11:53 split.
He finished his day off with a 1:16:35 run, which was good enough to hold off the fast finishing Kahlefeldt who came from 3min 20sec down off the bike to fall just 51 seconds short.
“It was good for me to get second and have the short course boys go one, two. All credit to Courtney who pushed it on the bike. But that wind out there today was tough,” Kahlefeldt said.
“It was fantastic to hear people cheering for me all the way home; we don’t really get that in ITU so it was great to hear.”
It was Atkinson along with Graham O’Grady, Casey Munro, and Reed who went for the win on the bike and put themselves in a position to hold off the onslaught they knew would come from Kahlefeldt on the run.
On the run it was the two-time Olympian who quickly showed his class building a lead that would prove to be just enough to hold off a flying Kahlefeldt.
In the women’s race it was a wire to wire win for Kiwi super mum Samantha Warriner, with a fast finishing Kiyomi Niwata from Japan in second and Australia’s Ange Castle in third.
“This is my 5th race in five weeks and I’m glad I held in there for the win. I love racing in Australia and to come back and win nine months after pregnancy is fantastic.
“The course was so beautiful, but the wind was there the whole time.”
Warriner was in a class of her own early, exiting the water with more than a minute lead.
Warriner built on her lead out of the water and by the time she hit the 5.5km mark of the run she had a minute buffer.
At that stage it looked like she had the race sewn up, the only problem was nobody told Niwata the race was over.
In a blistering run in very windy conditions she had the lead down to just two minutes at the 17.5km mark.
In the end she ran out of tarmac and finished 1min 6sec behind Warriner.
1. Courtney Atkinson 3:56:33
2. Brad Kahlefeldt 3:57:25
3. Tim Reed 3:59:53
4. Pete Jacobs 4:00:04
5. Sam Appleton 4:03:32
1. Samantha Warriner 4:39:18
2. Kiyomi NIwata 4:40:24
3. Ange Castle 4:45:40
4. Matilda Raynolds 4:46:31
5. Rebecca Hoschke 4:49:55