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Pete Jacobs - Ironman World Champion
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Saturday 13th October 2012


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Australian Pete Jacobs took the final step up from his 2011 second place to take the 2012 Ironman World Championship title and make it six consecutive Aussie wins in the men's race, after a hard-riding Marino Vanhoenacker faded on the run after leaving T2 over eight minutes clear.

Here is how the race unfolded.

Swim

If only everything in life was as reliable as Andy Potts exiting the water first **. 50:32 was his 2012 split, with Marko Albert (EST) in 50:47 the next best. 40 seconds later and the leading group was headed up the exit ramp by Andi Böcherer (GER) and contained Pete Jacobs (AUS), Craig Alexander (AUS), David Dellow (AUS), Rasmus Henning (DEN) , Michael Raelert (GER), Greg Bennett (USA), Frederik Van Lierde (BEL), Luke Bell (AUS), Luke McKenzie (AUS) among a group of almost 20 athletes.

As always, the key is who isn't in that group. Marino Vanhoenacker (52:11), Dirk Bockel (52:30 - a fine effort with a broken hand) and Chris McCormack (52:34) were behind but in touch - but Andreas Raelert (55:17) was, by his standards, the real shock and four minutes down beginning the bike. One man who was with Andreas was 70.3 World Champion Sebastian Kienle (GER). Four minutes down represented a pretty good return for triathlon's finest bike rider. The same wasn't true for Jordan Rapp, his 59:07 was way down on expectations and just an hour in would surely make a top ten finish a seriously tough challenge on his Kona debut.

From a British perspective, Paul Amey (55:21) was side-by-side with Kienle, while Tom Lowe's 1:01:43 start was going to make it a tough day to match last year's result. Time to hit the Queen K on the bike...

(** actually...the fastest swim of the day was actually M25-29 Age Group athlete Caine Eckstein (49:23))

Bike

As always, the pace from the off is extremely fast due to the depth of quality of the field - nobody makes up time quickly in the first 25 miles.

The first breaks of any note were around 30 miles, when Mckenzie, Vanhoenacker, Romain Guillaume (FRA), Van Lierde and Pete Jacobs were around 30 seconds clear of Craig Alexander - a rare treat for the fast-running Jacobs. The über-biker Kienle was making up time, and as the pace would inevitably settle in the second quarter of the ride, would be seeking to make his way to the front of the race. Tim O'Donnell, Michael Raelert and Dirk Bockel were still within one minute of the front of the race, but this was not going to be a great day for Chris McCormack, while Andreas Raelert was still four minutes in arrears.

Vanhoenacker was riding very smartly, gradually making up his swim deficit and testing out the athletes at the front of the race... before breaking clear, and reaching the Hawi turn alone. Not for too long, Kienle made the turn in second place. Mckenzie, Guillaume, Van Lierde an Jacobs were still together, with Dirk Bockel making great progress to join them. Al-Sultan, Alexander, Matthews and Axel Zeebroek (BEL) were a further 20 seconds back, but still well in contention.

It wasn't long before it was a Euro / Scott Plasma 3 twosome at the front of the race with Vanhoenacker and Kienle in tandem - a dream scenario for Vanhoenacker. They worked well, it was looking great for both... and then the German punctured! Vanhoenacker was alone in the lead... but would surely have preferred Sebastian for company. Marino pushed on alone.

Jacobs, Van Lierde, Bockel, McKenzie, Guillaume and Al-Sultan were close together, 2:30 down on Marino at around 75 miles with Van Lierde and Bockel in particular, looking great. Importantly for Jacobs, he was two minutes in front of three-time champion Craig Alexander. After a bad day at the office, Chris McCormack was in the sag wagon and out of the race... Though still racing, the Raelert brothers appeared to be out of contention today. All was looking good for Pete Jacobs...providing he had his running legs.

90 miles in and the Vanhoenacker Express was still flying, 5:30min clear of the Jacobs, Van Lierde, Bockel, McKenzie, Guillaume and Al-Sultan group, with early pacesetter McKenzie 7:20 back. Though he was back in the race, Kienle was actually now losing time and over eight minutes behind Marino. It wasn't looking good for Craig Alexander though - eleven and half minutes down and fading fast too.

Vanhoenacker pushed on and reached T2 with a healthy 8+ minute lead, courtesy of a 4:25:49 bike split. Jacobs, Bockel, Van Lierde and Al-Sultan were the chase group, Bockel having overcome his swim deficit with a 4:34:17 split. Guillame, Kienle and McKenzie were 6th/7th/8th off the bike. Craig Alexander was a whopping 16 minutes behind starting the marathon - no fourth title for Crowie this time around.

Marino had a lead of 8:26 over Pete Jacobs starting the run...

Run

Vanhoenacker started the run looking great, particularly given such an effort on the bike. He was losing some time, to be expected, to Pete Jacobs but at five miles his lead was still 7:10. A proven front-runner from all his wins in Klagenfurt, Marino was still looking calm and concentrated - and if he was concerned about Jacobs, he wasn't showing it.

Fast forward to 10 miles and that gap was still a healthy 5:32, but it wasn't long until strong Marino was starting to look like struggling Marino. And with Pete Jacobs looking great behind (and with Sebastian Kienle and Faris Al Sultan running strong too), the writing was appearing on the proverbial wall. At 14 miles Frederik Van Lierde and a recovering Andreas Raelert were just under seven minutes down in fifth and sixth. Could Raelert make his fourth consecutive podium after all, following one of his worst swims ever? Three Germans in the top six battling for national honour.

Jacobs took the lead from a crumbling Vanhoenacker and was maintaining excellent running form and barring a meltdown, he looked set to take the final step onto the top level of the podium having finished 8th / 9th / 2nd over the past three seasons. The 'biker' Kienle was proving to be a great runner...'what if' had the puncture not happened? Andreas Raelert continued his comeback and exiting the Energy Lab section of the course he passed countryman Kienle to move into second. 2nd/3rd/2nd in three Kona appearances, Andreas knows what it takes in Kona and at 19 miles he was five minutes behind Jacobs.

But this was the day of Pete Jacobs - and the sixth consecutive Australian win - who spent much of the last mile waving and high-fiving the crowds as he knew it was 'in the bag'. A great race, perfectly executed and an extemely worthy winner.

Raelert had a tremendous battle over the final two miles with Frederik Van Lierde. Initially passd by the Belgian, Andreas fought back over the roads that he had been passed by Chris McCormack two years ago and secured second place and maintained his record of never failing to make the Kona podium.

Pos Men
1st Pete Jacobs (AUS) 8:18:37
2nd Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:23:40
3rd Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 8:24:09
4th Sebastian Kienle (GER) 8:27:08
5th Faris Al-Sultan (GER) 8:28:33
6th Timo Bracht (GER) 8:30:57
7th Andy Potts (USA) 8:31:45
8th Timothy O'Donnell (USA) 8:33:28
9th David Dellow (AUS) 8:35:02
10th Dirk Bockel (LUX) 8:36:21

#GBKONA 2012 Coverage


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