It was a race packed with some of the best athletes in Europe, and it delivered in spades. Marino Vanhoenacker showed utter dominance on the bike and run to take the men’s race, while Caroline Steffen laid out her Kona credentials with an impressive win in Frankfurt.
The Men’s Race
Going into the race all the talk was about the duel between the fast swimming and running Andreas Raelert (who happens to be a pretty tasty bike rider too) and the fast cycling Marino Vanhoenacker (who’s not too shabby on the swim or run). But it was Stephane Poulat (44:15) who sprinted ahead of Bart Colpaert (44:17) coming out of the water to take the race lead. Raelert was just seconds down (44:20) with Vanhoenacker nearly a minute back on the leaders (45:07).
Raelert led a group of six men through the early stages of the bike, as Vanhoenacker started to chase the leaders down. Through 32km the gap was less than a minute and by 44km he was riding with them. As the rain started to fall this group stuck together and was soon joined by Sebastian Kienle. Kienle’s presence seemed to be the motivation Vanhoenacker needed and the pair were able to pull away from their original group. Through the rolling hills Vanhoenacker opened up a lead on Kienle, which stretched out to more than 1:30 through 170km. The race was playing into the Belgian’s hands. Kienle had dropped back, Raelert was 10-minutes adrift and Vanhoenacker was looking strong.
It was impressive stuff. A 4:26:26 bike gave Vanhoenacker a three-minute lead over Kienle going into T2 (5:25:28) and, crucially, 12:20 on Raelert (4:38:56). He had done the lion’s share of the hard work and rarely looked troubled as he ran towards the win. The gap over Kienle – who was comfortable in second – steadily increased, and Raelert’s challenge faded with stomach problems. Vanhoenacker managed a 2:48:19 marathon for the win (8:03:31), Kienle held firm for second (8:09:55) with Alonso-McKernan third (8:14:04).
The Women’s Race
Amanda Stevens enjoyed a big lead on the rest of the women’s field as she emerged from the water in 45:04. Caroline Steffen (48:58) was third with Wurtele (50:56), Goos (52:04) and Butterfield (52:35) all in contention. Britain’s Corinne Abraham left herself a lot of work to do emerging from the wet stuff in 56:06.
Steffen was quick to start hunting Stevens down, reducing the gap from nearly four-minutes to less than 30-seconds in just 24km. It was devastating stuff. Through 44km Steffen had a 1:17 lead over the second-placed Stevens, but behind her Anja Beranek was making a move. It was remarkable riding by the previously un-fancied Beranek, and Steffen was happy to go with her. The pair worked together to open up a 10-minute gap on the rest of the field through 116km, before Steffen made her move. A strong final third of the bike saw her nail a 4:52:34 bike split that bought her in with a 2:03 lead over Beranek (4:54:50).
While Beranek looked to eat into that lead early on, Steffen was always in control. Pulling away from the rest of the field, Steffen eased to the win with a 3:06:52 marathon. Beranek held on for second (9:05:41) while Corinne Abraham put in a storming 3:08:14 run to take third (9:21:03).
Ironman European Championship, Frankfurt
Top 5 Men
1. Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 8:03:31
2. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 8:09:55
3. Clemente Alonso-McKernan (ESP) 8:14:04
4. Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:17:36
5. Jan Raphael (GER) 8:18:17
Top 5 Women
1. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 8:52:33
2. Anja Beranek (GER) 9:05:41
3. Corinne Abraham (GBR) 9:21:03
4. Susan Dietrich (GER) 9:22:07
5. Sofie Goos (BEL) 9:28:03
FILED UNDER: Race Results TAGS: Andreas-Raelert / Anja Beranek / Caroline-Steffen / Clemente Alonso-Mckernan / Corinne Abraham / Frankfurt / Ironman European Championship / Jan Raphael / Marino Vanhoenacker / Results / Sebastian Kienle / Sofie-Goos / Susan Dietrich