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Brilliant Kienle takes 70.3 World Champs
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Sunday 9th September 2012


Tags  Bevan Docherty  |  Craig Alexander  |  Las Vegas  |  Sebastian Kienle  |  Vegas


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The best Ironman 70.3 Pro line up ever? While claiming that 'everyone' was there would be unfair (Vanhoenacker, Andreas Raelert, Chris McCormack weren't present for example), with every previous Ironman 70.3 World Champion due to toe the line (Terenzo Bozzone had to withdraw before the race), with a Raelert-Alexander showdown for the first time since, well, ever (?) plus a whole host of the world's best - I think it probably was. We certainly witnessed one of the most incredible race winning performances ever, that much is certain.

Who would come out on top at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship?

Swim

The top three out of the water were Aussie duo Josh Amberger and Clayton Fettell, along with the perennial fish Andy Potts (USA), but perhaps surprisingly they didn't have a significant gap. Just seven seconds later Paul Matthews lead out Timothy O'Donnell, Michael Raelert (GER), Filip Ospaly (CZE), Matty Reed (USA), defending champion Craig Alexander (AUS) and at the back of that group Paul Amey (GBR). Plenty of other favourites in there too.

Of the contenders further back, Bart Aernouts (BEL) and Sebastian Kienle (GER) were over three minutes in arrears of the leaders. With such quality and depth at the front, that was going to be a huge ask to bridge in just 90km. Nobody told Sebastian.

Bike

Any swim lead was soon extinguished and within minutes it was 2009/10 champion Michael Raelert pushing the pace at the front early in the race. One of the swim pace setters Clayton Fettell had to withdraw in the first half of the race following a puncture.

The pace was high, lots of changing of positions and by the turn on the bike the leading group was Potts, Matthews, Kemp, Docherty, Alexander, O'Donnell, Amberger, Raelert, Bennett, Reed, Ospaly and Umphenour, and less than 30 seconds back was the biking missile that is Sebastian Kienle! We did highlight that during the week... Kienle had fellow German and former Ironman World Champion Faris Al-Sultan for company.

Ten minutes later... and Kienle blew past everyone, cranking out a quite amazing speed and power. The best cyclist in the sport? Yes, by a country mile. The other big news; Michael Raelert had received, and served, a penalty out on the bike course. Would four minutes put him completely out of contention in a field this strong? Almost certainly.

With 13 miles to go, Kienle was clear by 1:23, the loose group behind still O'Donnell, Alexander, Potts, Bennett, Docherty, Kemp, Amberger, Ospaly and Matthews - Raelert now missing due to his stand down penalty and four minutes back from that chase grouping, out of podium contention.

Kienle finished with a 2:07:54 bike split. To put that into context, Craig Alexander split 2:13:23. Seriously impressive.

Run

Kienle lead by just under three minutes starting the run. Potts, O'Donnell and Alexander formed a quality chase group just behind in 2nd/3rd/4th - the cream was rising to the top, and early into the run the top four were pure class. Could they catch Kienle though? Would that effort be too much for the German cycling machine?

Potts was the first to be dropped from that foursome with 70.3 Panama winner Bevan Docherty looking to join Alexander and O'Donnell - which he did within two miles. Kienle dropped a few seconds in the first couple of miles but, despite the speed of Alexander and co., he was looking great and pushing hard. If that bike split would come back to bite him, it would be later on in the half marathon.

An aggressive, attacking Docherty made a more on the Alexander / O'Donnell pairing to sit alone in second, but couldn't make the gap decisive against the classy Crowie. By eight miles it was still Kienle in front, Alexander had reduced his lead to two minutes and was putting the pressure on Bevan Docherty. The gap hadn't reduced sufficiently at this rate, but would Sebastian be able to hold on over the final five miles? Alexander has won in the finish straight before...

No, today was Kienle's day

"They told me I couldn't win it on the bike - I think I showed that you can" Sebastian, you did indeed - and you backed it up with an incredible run too. Kienle played the dice in Vegas and he won. Big time. Superb, absolutely brilliant.

"The strongest man won today...that was a performance worthy of a world title" said silver medal winner Craig Alexander of the efforts of Kienle. Alexander, a class act to the end.

(to be updated)

Pos Men
1st Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:54:35
2nd Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:55:36
3rd Bevan Docherty (NZL) 3:56:25
4th Timothy O'Donnell (USA) 3:56:35
5th Andy Potts (USA) 3:56:54
6th Bart Aernouts (BEL) 4:01:17
7th Josh Amberger (AUS) 4:02:30
8th Micahel Raelert (GER) 4:03:11
9th Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 4:03:27
10th Richie Cunningham (AUS) 4:03:59

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