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Ritchie Nicholls wins Ironman 70.3 Norway
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Sunday 5th July 2015


Tags  Eva Wutti  |  Haugesund  |  Markus Thomschke  |  Norway  |  Ritchie Nicholls  |  Susie Cheetham


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Nicholls wins, Cheetham second in Norway

Men

The day started very well for Scotland's Ritchie Nicholls at a race he finished second at two years ago. The swim leg has at times been an achilles heel for the fast running Nicholls, so leading out of thE water the likes of Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), Will Clarke (GBR) and Mike Aigroz (SUI) was a great start, which will certainly have been noted by his coach Brett Sutton. 30 seconds back was the man who really showed his biking legs recently at Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire, Markus Thomschke (GER).

Thomschke wasted little time in getting to the front, with Allan Steen Olesen (DEN) the only man that was close. 50km in, Thomschke was four minutes clear of the main group of favourites. Come the end of the bike leg, he was three and a half minutes clear of Olesen and another two and half minutes before Aigroz, Nicholls and Paul Reitmayr (AUT), Sebastian Neef (GER) and Gudmund Snilstveit (NOR). All was going well for Aussie Kahlefeldt until a tyre exploded with 15km to go, and he was out of the race.

With six minutes of deficit, could thge fast running Ritchie Nicholls chase down the flying German, Thomschke? Well, he made up two minutes in the first 4km... at the midway point of the run, the deficit had been reduced further to under two minutes and Nicholls was on track to take the lead late into the run. Nicholls closed with a 1:09:15 half marathon, by far the fastest of the day, and more than enough to overall the 1:16:23 of Thomscke who would take another 70.3 second place, with Austria's Paul Reitmayer completing the podium.

Women

We definitely got one thing wrong the the weekend preview - not only did last week's Ironman Austria winner Eva Wutti race - she also outpaced defending champion Susie Cheetham on the run to secure the win.

Radka Vodickova (CZE) set the pace in the swim to exit alone in a swift 24:40, followed by home athlete Mette Moe (25:43) and Kari Lingsom (26:27). Wutti and Cheetham were just second apart in fourth and fifth, two and a half minutes back on the Czech pacesetter.

The gaps would close up on the bike, and by the 70km marker there was little to separate Cheetham, Wuttie, Vodickova and Moe - with Sweden's Asa Lundstrom recovering from a relatively poor 29:23 swim to be the first athlete into T2.

With Cheetham's run background and the effects of Klagenfurt a week ago still in the legs of Eva Wutti, the Brit would have been the favourite to defend her title in most peoples eyes starting the half marathon, but Wutti clearly hadn't read the script. The Austrian closed with a 1:19:29 run against the 1:22:51 from Cheetham to take the top spot on the podium, with Vodickova taking third and hopefully making up for the punture of her finance Kahlefeldt in the men's race.

Brit Watch

We mentioned British Age-Group athlete Kimberley Morrison recently after her she finished top-10 overall at Ironman 70.3 Pays D'Aix in France - which still wasn't enough to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Champs. She said at the time "I will be back at Ironman 70.3 Haugesund, Norway, to fight for my place". Good to her word, she finished as the first Age-Group athlete overall today (4:30:30), provisionally the eighth fastest female athlete too - which will ensure she lines up on 30th August for the World Champs.

Caroline Livesey - who we also recently interviewed - took eighth Pro (4:34:08). Caroline's husband Mark finished in 4:15:04 to take second place in the M40-44 category.

Will Clarke's disappointing 2015 season continued with a DNF midway through the bike "Not my day. Like every race this year so far! Back to the drawing board for me. Hope I can turn around 2015 soon", with first year Pro Anthony Meager 12th MPro (31st overall) in 4:19:49

Ironman 70.3 Haugesund, Norway - Sunday 5th July 2015
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

Pos Men Women
1st Ritchie Nichols (GBR) 3:52:03 Eva Wutti (AUT) 4:15:32
2nd Markus Thomschke (GER) 3:53:24 Susie Cheetham (GBR) 4:18:53
3rd Paul Reitmayer (AUT) 3:56:29 Radka Vodickova (CZE) 4:21:38
4th Gudmund Snilstweit (NOR) 3:58:16 Asa Lundstrom (SWE) 4:22:10
5th Allan Steen Olesen (DEN) 3:58:58 Mette Moe (NOR) 4:22:37

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