Ryf holds off challenge from Great Britain’s Lucy Charles in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa
NELSON MANDELA BAY, South Africa (Sept. 1, 2018) — Today marked Day 1 of the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship with the women opening the fierce competition. Defending IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Daniela Ryf of Feldbrunnen (CHE) came into today’s race as the clear favorite. After exiting the water in fourth, Ryf was determined and passed Lucy Charles of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (GBR) on the bike en route to claim her fourth IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in five years. Ryf finished in a stunning time of 4:01:12. Approximately 1,600 women were registered to compete in Nelson Mandela Bay as the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship came to the African continent for the first time.
Under clear blue skies, the professional and age-group female athletes lined up at King’s Beach for the start. As expected, super swimmer Lucy Charles charged to the front within moments of the cannon start and swam away from the field. She was first out of the water in 23 minutes, with a 1:24-minute lead over a chase group of about nine women that included Sarah True of Hanover, N.H (USA), Daniela Ryf and Anne Haug of Pegnitz, (DEU). Ryf, with a malfunctioning race kit, wasted no time reeling in Charles and made her pass on a flat section of the bike course. Charles retook the lead when Ryf dropped her chain, but after a quick fix, Ryf powered back into the lead. Ryf and Charles opened up more than a five-minute lead over the first chase group, which was led by Haug. Ryf hit the second transition in first with a time of 2:15:27, and Charles in second with a time of 2:17:11. Radcka Vodickova from Jablonec nad Nisou (CZE) came off the bike in third, 7:41 behind the leader.
Ryf was first onto the two-lap run course, with Charles just eight seconds behind her. By 10K the defending champion had stretched her lead over Charles to 1:30, with a hard-charging Haug running in third nearly seven minutes behind Ryf. Ryf would close out her record breaking fourth IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship win while Charles took second in 4:04:58, and Haug held on for third in 4:07:21 with the fastest run of the day (1:15:10). Pamella Oliveira from Vila Velha (BRA) ran her way into fourth place, finishing in 4:13:43, only six seconds in front of Radka Vodickova with a finishing time of 4:13:49.
“It was really challenging day,” said Ryf at the finish line. “It was a great race with a great atmosphere, and I felt like I was flying over the course. I felt great in the swim, and think our group did a good job not losing more than a minute to Lucy. I knew I had to push hard on the bike because Lucy was powering away. I put the hammer down, but she wouldn’t let me go. I jumped off the bike and was absolutely smashed. The pressure was on, and I am happy I could find my legs. It was a really hard day, I have a lot of respect for Lucy.”
Top 10 Women Results:
|1. Daniela Ryf||CHE||00:24:24||02:15:27||01:16:59||04:01:12|
|2. Lucy Charles||GBR||00:23:00||02:17:11||01:20:36||04:04:58|
|3. Anne Haug||DEU||00:24:26||02:23:16||01:15:10||04:07:21|
|4. Pamella Oliveira||BRA||00:24:24||02:23:17||01:21:29||04:13:43|
|5. Radka Vodickova||CZE||00:24:24||02:23:29||01:21:39||04:13:49|
|6. Imogen Simmonds||CHE||00:24:25||02:23:28||01:22:33||04:14:39|
|7. Jeanni Seymour||ZAF||00:24:24||02:27:21||01:19:08||04:14:56|
|8. Ellie Salthouse||AUS||00:25:43||02:25:54||01:19:23||04:15:11|
|9. Emma Pallant||GBR||00:25:55||02:25:56||01:20:04||04:15:52|
|10. Sarah True||USA||00:24:23||02:29:11||01:17:58||04:15:59|
The impressive professional field, along with the age-group athletes tackled a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim that started at King’s Beach and proceeded in an open-water swim, followed by a one-loop, 56-mile (90 km) bike course that took athletes around the Nelson Mandela Bay area. The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event was capped off with a two-lap, 13.1-mile (21 km) run that saw athletes finishing at Hobie Beach. In order to qualify for the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, more than 185,000 age-group athletes competed to earn slots at over 100 IRONMAN 70.3 events held worldwide.
The two-day Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will see approximately 4,500 registered athletes from 102 countries, regions and territories compete in this world-renowned event, marking the largest field of any IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon to-date. Athletes ranged in age from 18 to 78. Race weekend continues tomorrow, Sunday, September 2 with the men’s field.
More race weekend details will be available at www.ironman.com/triathlon-news/news.aspx. Full results for the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship can be found atwww.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman-70.3/70.3-world-championship/results.aspx
About the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
In 2006 the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship was held in Clearwater, Florida becoming another test for the world’s elite triathletes. Since that auspicious beginning, the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship has grown in stature and popularity moving first to Henderson, Nevada in 2011, where athletes encountered a more challenging terrain and then to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec—its first stop on the new “global rotation” for the championship. The event reached European soil for the first time ever in 2015, with Zell am See, Austria, hosting an epic and memorable event. In 2016, the race moved from the mountains to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. This year, the event will return to the United States, taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee and will become a two-day race for the first time. More than 185,000 athletes participated in a season of qualifying races for the championship, a series which consists of over 100 events in locations such as Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland. Approximately 4,500 athletes from around the world were registered to compete in this prestigious race. Participants in the ICY HOT® IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship ranged in age from 18 to 85-plus, and represented over 90 countries, territories and regions. In 2018, the event reaches the African continent for the first time and will be hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa. The race will then move to Nice, France for 2019.
A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, trail running like Ultra-Trail Australia™, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Holdings
Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.