Michael Weiss of Austria and Great Britain’s Rachel Joyce win Ironman Cozumel

Ironman CozumelMichael Weiss proved he’s still a force to be reckoned with in Ironman while Rachel Joyce’s strength showed through in the heat of Cozumel for a second Ironman title this year.

In the men’s race, Todd Skipworth (AUS) was first from the water at Chankanaab Park in 32:49 after windy conditions shortened the swim to 3.1km.

The big favourites came in a couple of minutes down – Tyler Butterfield (BER) in fifth, Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) five seconds later and Eneko Llanos (ESP) close on the Belgian’s feet.

Returning to action following a two-year ban for a doping infringement during his days as a pro mountain biker, Michael Weiss (AUT) was 17th from the water, nearly three minutes behind the other favourites and with work to do to prove himself a contender.

Llanos took the lead early on during the bike leg, a pack of strong bikers strung out behind him while Weiss worked to eat away at his deficit. The Austrian powered over the course, making the competition look stationary as he flew into the lead and began putting time into his rivals.

Coming into T2, Weiss was holding an advantage of nearly 10 minutes, with Butterfield second on the course and Llanos third, Vanhoenacker having fallen off the pace towards the end of the bike and eventually pulling out on the run.

Weiss began the marathon strongly, his lead holding firm until Butterfield began to reel him in during the final 10km. The Bermudan managed to lop four minutes off his deficit, but this caused no drama for the Austrian; Weiss continued his stylish comeback race to clock a 2:51:34 marathon and cross the line as winner in 7:55:23.

Butterfield held strong for second in 8:02:42 with Llanos’ spectacular consistency seeing him bag yet another podium in 8:05:21.

In the women’s race, there were no surprises after the swim: Amanda Stevens (USA) emerged from the water first in 34:17 with Celine Scharer (SUI) close behind, the pair nearly three minutes ahead of third-placed Rachel Joyce (GBR).

Stevens rode superbly to hold the lead throughout the bike, but her advantage to Joyce – now in second – was dwindling.

Behind them, Jessie Donavan (USA) was making up for her 10-minute swim deficit by stamping the pedals towards what would be the day’s fastest bike split, which earned her fourth place by T2, five minutes behind the leader.

Stevens began the marathon in first, but Joyce proved the stronger runner. The Brit had taken the lead by half way and didn’t look back.

Joyce crossed the line in 8:52:28 after a 3:07:10 marathon to claim the Ironman Cozumel crown, her second Ironman win of the season.

Donavan also ran well to reel in Stevens and move into second place, claiming silver in 9:01:12, while Stevens rounded out the podium in 9:06:40.

Ironman Cozumel Results: Top 5 Men

  1. Michael Weiss (AUT) 7:55:23
  2. Tyler Butterfield (BER) 8:02:42
  3. Eneko Llanos (ESP) 8:05:21
  4. Jerzy Marek Jaskolka (POL) 8:13:29
  5. Nils Frommhold (GER) 8:20:16

Ironman Cozumel Results: Top 5 Women

  1. Rachel Joyce (GBR) 8:52:28
  2. Jessie Donavan (USA) 9:01:12
  3. Amanda Stevens (USA) 9:06:40
  4. Celine Scarer (SUI) 9:12:40
  5. Bree Wee (USA) 9:16:26