From press release
As pre-race favourites, both world champions Daniela Ryf and Jan Frodeno ran away with the titles at Ironman 70.3 Dubai yesterday. This race was the first of the Triple Crown series, which Ryf won last year.
The course was fast and flat but the conditions yesterday made it challenging. High speed winds and tumultuous waters forced organizers to change the swim location and shorten it to 1,200 with an extra 750 metre run into T1. On the bike course, athletes faced headwinds for the entire second half. The run took place on a 7 km, unshaded path. Three loops in the hot, Dubai sun was the final hurdle of the day.
Frodeno held the lead the whole way. Despite the windy bike course, his split was 2:02 and he widened his lead from the swim to three minutes. He held on for the run for an overall time of 3:34:48.
Ryf said in an interview yesterday that she had no expectations going into the race, having had no real time off from training yet. Unlike Frodeno, she gave up her lead from the swim when her Bahrain Endurance teammate, Caroline Steffen, left T1 first. Eventually, Ryf was able to overtake Steffen on the bike. While she may not have expected the win, no one was surprised to see her cross the finish line first in 4:01:09.
“Today, those were tough competitions,” said Frodeno. It was really tough out there, but this course is very fast. I had a real dream of a day, one of those days you can just push with the pace the whole day. It was a perfect day for me.” Frodeno dedicated his win to Laurent Vidal, the French triathlete who tragically passed away in late 2015. He crossed the finish line holding up his fingers in an “L” and “V”.
Ryf was happy with her victory and noted her teammate’s efforts on the course. “Big compliment to Caroline. I think
she did really good in the first 50 km on the bike,” she said. “She really pushed the pace and she was really hurting me and then I tried to wait a bit. I started to hurt more, the last 40 km I wanted to see where my legs were and decided to push a little bit hard. Every time I wanted to slow down I pushed harder, that’s pretty much the tactic. With the wind and the carpet on the floor the run felt quite slow, but I’m really happy.”
Canada’s Sara Gross, the newest addition to the Bahrain Endurance team, raced on a relay team with runner Khaleifa Mohamed Alnuaimi and pro cyclist Mohammed Al Mansouri. They won the relay division.