Clever in the water, radical on the bike
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.
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