Karin Thüerig and Andreas Böcherer overcame the elements in Wiesbaden to win the Ironman 70.3 European Championships.
The day in Wiesbaden started with some rain and even fog on the bike. Francesc Godoy, from Spain, set a furious pace in the water and managed to finish the swim in 22:41 minutes. Behind Godoy there was a powerful chase group led by Czech Filip Ospaly. Ospaly (23:28) led a 14-strong group into T1, but Boecherer quickly moved to the front and set the pace on the bike together with Mathias Hecht from Switzerland. 2009 winner and pre-race favorite Sebastian Kienle found himself in trouble early in the race – he came out of the water late (26:13 minutes) and knew that he couldn’t allow Boecherer, the Ironman 70.3 Switzerland champion and runner-up at Ironman South Africa, to get away on the bike. Kienle took some chances on the slippery road surface and, after only a few kilometers, had the first of three crashes on the bike. After his third crash he had to give up the race thanks to some minor injuries.
While Kienle was struggling, Hecht and Boecherer (pictured riding through the fog) dominated the race on the bike, riding together until a climb called “Wiesbadener Platte” at 50 km, where Boecherer made his move. He quickly opened up a gap of a minute, and extended that by flying down the downhills, sometime hitting speeds of over 100 km/h. “I was confident enough to keep up the pace downhill,” the 28-year old said later. Although the bike course in Wiesbaden had 1450 meters of elevation Boecherer went trough the tough 90 Kms in 2:25:04, the fastest time of the day. When he started the run, he was four minutes in front of Hecht and Ospaly. Ospaly ran the first mile in 5:05, passing Hecht and gaining time on Boecherer. But the German ran a solid 1:16:32 split to hold off his challengers.
“When I reached 10 km I recognized that I will be runner-up today,” Ospaly said after the race. He ran the half marathon in 1:13:50, but would never get closer than 90 seconds. Boecherer won the European title in 4:08:36 with Ospaly second in 4:10:19. Czech Martin Krnavek was third (4:15:02), Hecht followed in 4:17:01. Dmitry Rosryagaev of Russia (4:22:06) came in fifth, Mike Aigroz from Switzerland was sixth (4:23:53), American Brandon Marsh took seventh (4:24:28) by passing Germany’s Thomas Hellriegel (the 40-year-old Kona champ from 1997 finished in 4:24:51). Hellriegel spent much of the day in the top five, only to lose three positions in the last three km.
In the women’s race Karin Thuerig (below, winning and at bottom on the bike) had a slow, but solid, swim before her typically stellar bike. Thuerig was 5:42 behind swim leader Anja Ippach from Germany (24:56). Ippach managed to remain in front until the 70-kilometer point of the ride, staying ahead of young Austrian, Eva Wutti, who had never ridden that far in a race before. The 21-year-old student from Vienna was impressive, though. Thuerig, the 38-year-old bike course record holder in Kona, had the fastest bike split in Wiesbaden, 2:42:07, which got her to the front of the field by the start of the run. Ippach was in second after the bike, 1:18 behind.
It quickly became apparent, though, that Ippach had pushed too hard – she would eventually finish seventh in 4:54:50. Ahead of her, Thuerig controlled the run and would take the title in 4:45:47. Wutti celebrated her best career result with an outstanding second in 4:50:54. Even the third-place finisher celebrated like she had won the race. Natascha Badmann, the 44-year-old six-time Kona champion started the run in fifth and ran her way up two positions. “I’m very happy with this race,” said the Swiss star. “I did not know how my performance could be today. It was my personal goal to be happy at the end of the day – and I’m really happy now. It was a great race with a great audience. It was very well organized and a challenging, but great, course.”
Defending champion Yvonne van Vlerken reached the line in fourth (4:52:27) after suffering from cramps during the run. She managed the day’s best run split of 1:26:41 to get to the line a second ahead of Joanna Lawn from New Zealand. Belgian Sophie de Groote (4:53:13) finished sixth, followed by Ippach. Jenny Schulz from Germany finished in eighth (4:55:08).
Ironman 70.3 European Championships
Top 5 Men
1. Andreas Böcherer (GER) 4:08:36
2. Filip Ospaly (CZE) 4:10:19
3. Martin Krnavek (CZE) 4:15:02
4. Mathias Hecht (SUI) 4:17:01
5. Daniel Niederreiter (AUT) 4:23:24
Top 5 Women
1. Karin Thuerig (SUI) 4:45:47
2. Eva Wutti (AUT) 4:50:54
3. Natascha Badmann (SUI) 4:51:39
4. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:52:27
5. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:52:28
FILED UNDER: All / Race Results TAGS: Andreas Böcherer / Daniel Niederreiter / Eva Wutti / Filip-Ospaly / Ironman 70.3 European Championships / Joanna-Lawn / Karin Thuerig / Martin Krnavek / Mathias-Hecht / Natascha-Badmann / Results / Yvonne Van Vlerken