Britain’s Ritchie Nicholls and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf become new Ironman 70.3 European Champions

Ironman 70.3 European Championships WeisbadenFast racing action on the tough course in Wiesbaden provided two new titleholders at the Ironman 70.3 European Championships in Germany.

In the men’s race, 2008 Olympic Champion Jan Frodeno (GER) set the pace in the swim of his first Ironman 70.3, splitting the field with his monstrous speed to leave the water in 20:39, Josh Amberger (AUS) on his coattails.

British 70.3 revelation Ritchie Nicholls (GBR) was over a minute behind the leaders while Ironman 70.3 World Champion Sebastian Kienle (GER) was just over three minutes in arrears.

Kienle pulverised the bike course to set the fastest time of the day, bridging to Amberger at the front by 46km and then leading the competition into T2 with a 2:21:21 split, unable to shake his chasers.

First onto the run, Kienle got a head start on Frodeno, who was right behind going into transition, but lost over a minute while race officials scrambled to find his misplaced kit.

Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) and Nicholls were also in the main leading bike group and got out onto the half marathon course close behind Kienle.

Nicholls soon showed his incredible running engine, pushing into the lead and distancing everyone except Frodeno, who eventually stormed onto the run course to blur past the rest of the field set the day’s fastest split of 1:08:52, just a second quicker than Nicholls.

Nicholls crossed the line to be crowned Ironman 70.3 European Champion in 3:56:55, setting a new course record. Frodeno was second in 3:57:35 while Degasperi’s 1:12:20 split saw him cruise into third place ahead of Amberger. Boris Stein rounded out the top five, pushing Kienle down to sixth place.

In the women’s race, Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific champ Annabel Luxford (AUS) started a brilliant performance by coming first out of the water in 22:12, just ahead of Rahel Küng (SUI). This gave the leaders more than a minute’s lead going onto the bike, with Svenja Bazlen (GER) and Daniela Ryf (SUI) chasing hard in a pack that also contained Tamsin Lewis (GBR). Further back, Scotland’s Catriona Morrison (GBR) was 2 minutes 40 seconds off the pace.

Luxford soon dropped Küng on the bike, Ryf continued her strong pursuit while Bazlen retired with a mechanical.

By T2, the Australian had an advantage of around 45 seconds over Ryf, who posted the day’s fastest split – 2:43:18 – to move up into second.

Lewis was next to rack her bike, leading Morrison into T2 more than five minutes behind Luxford, and initially edged out a small lead over the Scotswoman.

Ryf ran strongly throughout the half marathon course, picking up her speed to reel in Luxford by 17km. The Aussie tried to hold onto the heels of the fast Swiss woman, but Ryf proved herself the stronger in the end, running a 1:21:25 split to claim the European title in 4:31:34.

Morrison picked up her speed during the final leg, running away to the fastest split of the day – 1:21:02 – to take the final spot on the podium. Lewis claimed fourth in 4:39:28 with Lisa Hütthaler (AUT) completing the top-five.

Top 5 Men
1. Ritchie Nicholls (GBR) 3:56:55
2. Jan Frodeno (GER) 3:57:35
3. Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 4:00:14
4. Josh Amberger (AUS) 4:02:37
5. Boris Stein (GER) 4:02:47

Top 5 Women
1. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:31:34
2. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:32:43
3. Catriona Morrison (GBR) 4:36:27
4. Tamsin Lewis (GBR) 4:39:28
5. Lisa Hütthaler (AUT) 4:42:40