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O'Donnell wins 70.3 Texas classic
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Sunday 1st April 2012


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The Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas may have taken place on 1st April, but it proved to be no April fool with Timothy O'Donnell just coming out on top after an epic battle in the final stages of the run with Germany's Sebastian Kienle.

If the race result was going to be decided today it wasn't going to be in the swim... and that includes Sebastian Kienle (GER), renowned über-biker, twice sub eight hour iron-distance finisher, but with a weak swim which I tipped as being his (potential) downfall today.

Twice Ironman 70.3 World Champion Michael Raelert (GER) led out of the swim with Lance Armstrong in 15th. The key for Armstrong though, was 15th in a long line of athletes including Tim O'Donnell (USA), Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL), TJ Tollakson (USA), Stephane Poulat (FRA) and Axel Zeebroek (BEL), right in the mix from the start of the bike. Other potential race winners included Ronnie Schildknect (SUI), one minute back on Armstrong with Kienle a full three minutes in arrears of pace-setter Raelert. Too much with all of that cycling power in the lead group?

As expected, the first half of the bike was relatively tactical, before Armstrong put the power down and pulled away in the second half, with France's Stephane Poulat trying to go with him and staying in pretty close order. The fireworks behind though were with Kienle. His 2:03:43 bike split, fastest of the day versus the 2:05:10 of Lance Armstrong, leaving him within a minute of the lead at T2 with just Armstrong and Poulat ahead. Would his legs survive the 13.1 miles after such a powerful and solo effort?

Kienle quickly took the lead early on the run, looking magnificent despite his biking efforts and setting a fierce pace. The hard charge from behind though was going to come from Tim O'Donnell and Ronnie Schildknect. O'Donnell worked his way through to the head of the race and, finally, caught Kienle with litle more than a mile to go. Kienle though was strong, and with the pair running neck-and-neck twice put in explosive surges to pull away from O'Donnell. Twice though Tim worked his way back to surge himself, and finally break the brave German, coming away with the US Pro Ironman 70.3 title. Brilliant racing, with the 1:13:27 half marathon, fastest of the day, from Ronnie Schildknect earning him third place.

Michael Raelert's race was impacted by a puncture on the bike, and despite being reported as walking at one stage on the run, he still ran a swift 1:14:54 to finish fourth ahead of Poulat. Armstrong looked strong in the early stages of the run, but faded (1:22:38) for a seventh place finish to add to his second in Panama.

Pos Men
1st Timothy O'Donnell (USA) 3:47:40
2nd Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:48:03
3rd Ronnie Schildknect (SUI) 3:48:49
4th Michael Raelert (GER) 3:50:08
5th Stephane Poulat (FRA) 3:52:35
6th Jordan Jones (USA) 3:54:31
7th Lance Armstrong (USA) 3:54:32
8th Marino Vanhoenacker (BEL) 3:54:55
9th Jeremy Jurkiewicz (GER) 3:55:28
10th Axel Zeebroek (BEL) 3:55:43

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