Lance Armstrong shows he’s on the path to triathlon domination with a course record win at Ironman 70.3 Hawaii.
Despite conditions described by competitors as the most brutal ever seen for a race in Ironman’s home turf of Hawaii, Lance Armstrong followed up his win of only two weeks ago with a stunning victory against his most competitive field yet while the USA’s Linsey Corbin shared in the record breaking with her own strong win.
The men’s race started with the now familiar sight of Armstrong leaving the 1.9km swim near the front – this time in third place behind fellow Americans Timothy Marr (23:16) and Greg Bennett (23:17) – while strong bikers Maik Twelsiek (GER) and Chris Lieto (USA) were fourth and sixth to the bike racks.
Bennett put in a blinding transition to get out onto the 90km bike course first, only to be caught by Armstrong less than five miles up the road with Lieto and Twelsiek third and fourth. With unparalleled speed, Armstrong continued to pull away, creating a nearly two-minute buffer on Lieto, who had moved up into second, around 2mins30secs on Bennett and more than five minutes on Twelsiek by 10 miles in.
Apparently undaunted by the most savage crosswinds and scorching heat to ever plague a race on the Big Island, Armstrong only increased his pace, reaching transition after 2:01:46 aboard his Trek. This gave the Texan a lead of 3mins09secs over Lieto, whose position as the sport’s best cyclist is now surely in doubt, as well as 6mins57secs up on Bennett and 7mins15secs on Twelsiek.
Armstrong, nutrition issues now firmly put to bed, showed neither a sign of fading strength or pressure on the half marathon heading out at a steady pace. Behind him, Bennett was gaining, passing Leito, who was nursing his recent Achilles niggles, within the first mile and making up around 40 seconds of his deficit. Bennett went on to make gains but with five miles to go, Armstrong was still holding a five-minute lead that was more than enough for him to break the finish tape in 3:50:55 with a 1:22:29 run, smashing Chris McCormack’s 3:57:18 course record, which has stood since 2007.
Bennett continued to close the gap, finishing in 3:53:41 while Lieto hung on for third in 4:05:55, just ahead of Twelsiek (4:06:16).
In the women’s race, American powerhouse Hillary Biscay pulled up to one of the men’s packs on the choppy swim, leaving the sea in 25:21 and be first onto the bike, 1min40secs ahead of the front running women’s group including defending champion and Kona local Bree Wee, Karen Thibodeau (CAN) and Julia Grant (NZL).
Onto the bike course, Biscay was overtaken by mile five, with Melanie McQuaid (CAN), Wee, Grant and Linsey Corbin (USA) powering ahead. By the end of the 90km, Corbin was in the lead having posted the day’s fasted bike split in 2:25:02 to take her 3mins26secs ahead of Grant, 3mins51secs up on McQuaid and nearly four minutes on Wee.
As Corbin strode ahead out onto the road, the action was hotting up behind her with the USA’s Beth Walsh charging through the run course slicing away at her 4mins6secs deficit on McQuaid while Grant held her pace in second. Corbin’s 1:29:58 run saw her comfortably hold onto first place with a course record of 4:26:09, 4mins8secs ahead of Grant (4:30:17), while Walsh’s blitzing of the half marathon in 1:27:53 saw her take the final podium spot in 4:31:47.
Top 3 Men
- Lance Armstrong (USA) 3:50:55
- Greg Bennett (USA) 3:53:41
- Chris Lieto (USA) 4:05:55
Top 3 Women
- Linsey Corbin (USA) 4:26:09
- Julia Grant (NZL) 4:30:17
- Beth Walsh (USA) 4:31:47
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