If there were any thoughts that Daniela Ryf’s decision to split with long-time coach Brett Sutton might have slowed her down at all, her dominating, record-setting performance today at the Ironman North American Championship in St. George, Utah should put those to rest. The Swiss star rode to a six-minute lead off the bike and, while she gave back a bit of time on the run, was never really challenged for the win.
The Daniela Ryf show
The women’s race began with a bit of a surprise as American Haley Chura pulled clear of the rest of the field early on. One of the pre-race favourites, Holly Lawrence, appeared to get boxed out at the swim start and managed to miss the chase pack that included Fenella Langridge (GBR), Pamella Oliveira (BRA), Jeanni Metzler (RSA), Ryf and Paula Findlay (CAN). By the time the athletes hit T1, Chura’s lead was up to 50 seconds on the group, with Lawrence hitting transition 1:37 back.
Out on the bike, though, the day quickly turned into the Daniela Ryf show as the four-time Kona champ and five-time 70.3 world champ blasted away from the rest of the field, opening up a 3:25 gap to Findlay by the halfway point. Great Britain’s Emma Pallant pushed hard on the bike to join Findlay at the head of the chase, but both continued to lose time to Ryf.
Ryf continued to pull clear of the rest of the field through the challenging bike ride, hitting the second transition over six-minutes ahead of Pallant. American (although we’d like to claim her as Canadian – she’s got dual citizenship) Sky Moench was 7:07 behind with Metzler a few seconds behind her, while Findlay hit T2 in fifth at 7:22. Lawrence continued to lose time, starting the run almost nine-minutes down.
Out on the run course Metzler would make things exciting for a while, closing the gap to 3:30 at one point before Ryf put the hammer down and started opening up time again and cruising to a new course record with her 4:05:47 finishing time. Metzler would run her way to second (4:10:15) with Pallant, who was passed while making a stop at a port-o-potty, taking third in 4:11:03. Findlay took the fierce battle for fourth in 4:14:07, holding off Moench (4:14:24) and Lawrence (4:14:48).
You can find the results here.