Thomas J. Vonach surprises with a 7th Overall rank in the international field.
While the men´s World Cup in Kitzbühel fell substantially in the water on Saturday, the classic Salzburgerland Triathlon could get exactly two sun-hours in which the race took place after two rainy editions in the last 2 years.
The women´s race was firmly in Dutch hand. It ended with a double-victory of Yvonne van Vlerken who won the race now already for the 3rd time,
and Mirjam Weerd, 3. of Ironman Wisconsin and 4. IM South Africa 2010.
The strong swimmer Weerd led after swim and changed with a cushion of 1:40min on van Vlerken to the bike. Yvonne van Vlerken needed quite exactly 16km and until the peak point of the bike course to neutralise that and take the lead. Both training partners, van Vlerken and Mirjam Weerd, came into T2 with only 40 seconds gap and then made it quite exciting on the run. Mirjam Weerd, reigning Dutch middle distance Champion, surprised with a 38:02min. On the selective 10km-distance. Clearly behind the two Dutchies Salzburg´s Dominique Angerer made the podium of the ladies complete.
In the men´s race Thomas J. Vonach surprised with a 7th overall rank. The Schwarzach resident left the water in 12. Position with a good swim performance and clocked the 3rd bike-time moving through the field up to 7th position. Finally Vonach recorded an end-time of 1:47:22 hours and could hold off short-course youngsters like Daniel Herlbauer with a strong 36:23min run time. The German Alexander Bonauer won the race in front of Alun Woodward/GB and Dejan Patrcevic/CRO. Austrian short -course specialist Paul Reitmayr took 5th overall and was the quickest Austrian in front of Thomas Vonach in 1:45:40 hours.
Yvonne van Vlerken (Endurance Team Austria) claims victory, sets new course record in the land of 1000 hills. Clever in the water, radical on the bike.
It wouldn´t be enough to have one of the toughest bike-courses on the half-distance with the hills of the Kraichgau-region, the run turned out to be a hot-humid experience which elevated the Challenge to an even more exclusive level.
Yvonne van Vlerken lined up against Rachel Joyce (winner Ironman Lanzarote in ’11, 2. IM South Africa), other strong names in the field were newcomer Julia Wagner / GER, Belinda Harper/NZ and Diana Riesler/GER.
Already in the swim-portion, Yvonne could lay the foundation for the later win. She chose a good start position to escape the start-troubles and could lift off greatly. While the live-ticker read „van Vlerken misjudged start-position“, the result of the “misjudgement” was a personal best performance for the 1.9 km in 27:24min. and after T1 a gap of only 2:21min on female leader Rachel Joyce (who had put 4:30min on van Vlerken in the swim at Ironman 70.3 Wiesbaden last year).
Then on the bike, the Austrian resident immediately put down the pressure, in just about half of the bike-distance the cushion of Joyce and companion melted away, only Julia Wagner succeeded to keep van Vlerken´s wheel.
While Rachel Joyce was down about 1:30min on the new leading duet in a fairly short time, from the back Diana Riesler flew along to show a good performance, but brought with her Rachel Joyce back in the game and exactly that lady should later take the podium-spot from her.
Van Vlerken was in T1 first, closely followed by Riesler, Wagner and Joyce, only 53 seconds separated the quartet.
While Yvonne van Vlerken could open a gap immediately, a fight for the rest of the podium broke out behind. Riesler had to give tribute to her brave ride and was passed by Wagner, then also from Joyce.
Wagner and Joyce fought closely and tried to get van Vlerken, who could stay clear with the quickest run of the day and distanced the two by 1:02 and 1:37min until the finish-line.
Yvonne van Vlerken also could set a new course record, 1:20min below Rebekah Keat´s best from 2010.
Yvonne van Vlerken (quote): „I am very pleased with my swim-performance, because, finally, I could turn over for what I have worked during the last years in the water. On the bike I simply had fun while on the run I had to suffer in the heat and was not sure what the other girls had planned or left in the tank, however, I was prepared for a head-to-head-decision. I am happy about this victory, the build up for this season seems to fit.“
Andreas Raelert won the men´s duel in front of Sebastian Kienle.
MORE INFORMATION ON YVONNE:
Timo Bracht took Ironman Lanzarote today, celebrated the sixth Ironman triumph of his career and crossed the finish line more than 13 minutes ahead of his compatriot Konstantin Bachor. Esben Hovgaard from Denmark became third. The predominant Commerzbank athlete finished in 8:30:34 hours which meant a new course record. The 35-year-old was 5:06 minutes faster than the previous record time set by Thomas Hellriegel from Germany 16 years ago.
“It was two kilometres in front of the finish line when I heard that I was about to break the course record”, said Timo Bracht. “I wouldn’t have expected such a fast time because the wind was extremely strong. And until the second transition zone Konstantin seemed to have a better day than me. Fortunately I had very good legs on the run and I am very happy to start this Ironman season with a victory.”
With the success at Lanzarote Timo has celebrated his second Ironman title in a row. Last year he had finished the season by winning Ironman Arizona and also managed to set a new course record. For the Commerzbank Team the victory of Bracht means the second Ironman triumph of the season – and the season has just begun.
“Last week I did a small Europe-tour and at the end Ironman 70.3 Austria in Sankt-Polten: A week ago I was on the island of Mallorca. In the meantime I have been in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and now Austria. Yesterday I participated in the IM 70.3 of St. Polten. It is a beautiful race with 3000 participants. I also did the race 4 years ago so I could remember the course more or less. The swim is divided in 2 parts in different lakes with a 200m run in between, very special and fun. The bike has some climbs and descends, but also a fast flat section on the highway. For me the race went a little bit better than last week, especially on the run. Step by step I will improve towards my top form for this year. It was the first time ever I did 2 70.3 races in consecutive weekends, but the recovery was good enough thanks to SLS3 compression. Next is a training camp in altitude. There the important parts of the puzzle should be added. Like last year, after this camp I hope to be ready for the first full distance Ironman of the season: the 3rd of July, Ironman Klagenfurt.”