Norwegian Gustav Iden races to first Ironman 70.3 World Championship Victory in Dramatic Title Chase
September 9, 2019
NICE, France (Sept. 9, 2019) — An epic battle unfolded on the second day of the 2019 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship as a field of the world’s top male professional triathletes took on a tough and technical course in Nice, France today. With a bike course that included multiple passes and exciting head-to-head racing, it was 23-year-old short-course specialist Gustav Iden (NOR) that claimed victory after a powerhouse performance on the bike and run. Multi-time Olympic Gold Medalist Alistair Brownlee (GBR) and local favorite Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) fought hard for the second and third spot on the podium. Approximately 3,500 male athletes were registered to race at the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.
Following yesterday’s exciting female race, the day kicked off with ideal conditions. Due to higher water temperatures, the race featured a non-wetsuit swim. Josh Amberger (AUS) took the expected early lead in the swim, exiting the water in 23:15. Brownlee followed only two seconds behind with the chase pack of Sam Appleton (AUS), Ben Kanute (USA) and Daniel Bækkegård (DEN) following closely. The caliber of racing showed as the first 15 athletes out the water were separated by no more than 15 seconds, while other race favorites like Von Berg, Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Frederik van Lierde (BEL) were chasing further back in the field.
Out of transition, it was Kanute and Brownlee attacking the bike course with Kanute taking the early lead before Brownlee passed to take control of the race around 27km. Kanute was not letting Brownlee ride off uncontested, but the true threat was reeling them in from behind in the form of incredible bikers Iden and former Nice-local Von Berg. Having grown up training on the roads in-and-around Nice, Von Berg had the home turf advantage, knowing exactly when to attack. Iden, an experienced biker and ITU athlete, was calculating his moment at the same time and passed Kanute for second place as positions changed frequently into Col de Vance. While Brownlee was looking comfortable into the climb, Von Berg saw his opportunity and made a sensational charge for the lead on the descent at about 60km – surprising Brownlee and Iden with the bold move. Von Berg’s gusto paid off as he held off Brownlee, Iden and Kanute to enter Transition 2 in first place with a bike split of 02:17:24, the fastest of any pro on the day.
Having entered T2 with only seconds separating them, the race was on between Von Berg, Brownlee, and Iden. It was a battle of will and skill as the leaders ran nearly side-by-side for the first 6km – Brownlee pushed hard to gain ground, however he could never truly get away from Iden who stayed close and made his pass just before the 6km mark to take the lead of the race. The pro male chase pack led by Von Berg was approximately 01:24 behind at 6km, but the energy expended on the bike course was starting to show as his pace slowed. While Brownlee worked hard to stay with Iden, the Norwegian’s speed in the sweltering conditions was too much to beat. Iden cruised to victory in 03:52:35, putting nearly three minutes between him and his closest rival. Brownlee finished second in 03:55:19, while Von Berg claimed the last step on the podium in 03:56:45 to the delight of locals.
“It feels so amazing. I was joking on Instagram that I was just going to go out and go do it, but to be here as a World Champion – its unbelievable, and its amazing,” said a happy Iden on the finish line. “I was just thinking about staying in the front pack and maybe pushing a bit on the downhill. The race tactics changed during the race though! To be World Champ right now is so amazing and now I’ll be focusing on the Olympics next year. I’d love to go long-distance and do an IRONMAN, and then I’ll try really, really hard to win the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona one day too.”
Top 10 Men Results:
|1. Gustav Iden||NOR||00:23:55||02:17:25||01:08:10||03:52:35|
|2. Alistair Brownlee||GBR||00:23:17||02:17:38||01:10:43||03:55:19|
|3. Rudy Von Berg||USA||00:23:31||02:17:24||01:12:15||03:56:45|
|4. Kristian Blummenfelt||NOR||00:23:23||02:22:10||01:09:59||03:59:21|
|5. Sebastian Kienle||GER||00:26:50||02:19:57||01:09:31||04:00:18|
|6. Bart Aernouts||BEL||00:27:00||02:19:46||01:10:36||04:01:14|
|7. Javier Gomez||ESP||00:23:22||02:24:07||01:10:09||04:01:30|
|8. Sam Appleton||AUS||00:23:19||02:23:01||01:11:56||04:02:15|
|9. Bradley Weiss||RSA||00:24:39||02:21:51||01:12:43||04:03:09|
|10. Ben Kanute||USA||00:23:21||02:20:57||01:16:53||04:04:36|
The incredible professional field as well as age-group athletes tackled the swim of 1.2 miles (1.9km) in the pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea on the Roka swim course, take on a challenging 56.7 (91.3km) Ventum bike course that leads to the Col de Vence and run the 13.1-mile (21.1km) HOKA ONE ONE run course along Nice’s historic Promenade des Anglais waterfront, cheered on by family and fans. In order to qualify for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, more than 200,000 age-group athletes competed to earn slots at over 100 IRONMAN 70.3 events held worldwide
In all, the 2019 edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship encompassed two days of racing and saw over 5,500 registered athletes from 100 countries, regions and territories compete in the largest IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event to date. Athletes ranged in age from 18 to 80 years.
Next year, the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship rotates to Taupō, New Zealand where there is a long IRONMAN history that spans 20 years, before reaching the Red Rocks of St. George, Utah in the United States in 2021.
Full results for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship can be found at www.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 of Austria to the beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. In 2017, the race returned to the United States, taking place in Chattanooga, Tennessee where it became a two-day event for the first time. In 2018, the event reached the African continent for the first time and was hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa. Continuing the rotation, 2019 sees the French Riviera and Nice, France play host to the ever-growing championship event. More than 200,000 athletes participate annually in a series of qualifying races, consisting of over 100 events in locations such as Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, North America, South Africa and Switzerland. Hosting more than 5,000 athletes from around the world, participants in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship have ranged in age from 18 to 85-plus. In 2020, the event will move to Taupō, New Zealand where there is a long and storied IRONMAN history that spans 20 years before reaching the Red Rocks of St. George, Utah in the United States in 2021.
About The IRONMAN Group
As part of Wanda Sports Group, The IRONMAN Group 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®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 55+ countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Group
Wanda Sports Group (Nasdaq: WSG) is a leading global sports events, media and marketing platform with a mission to unite people in sports and enable athletes and fans to live their passions and dreams. Through our businesses, including Infront and The IRONMAN Group, we have significant intellectual property rights, long-term relationships and broad execution capabilities, enabling us to deliver unrivalled sports event experiences, creating access to engaging content and building inclusive communities. We offer a comprehensive array of events, marketing and media services through three primary segments: Mass Participation, Spectator Sports and Digital, Production, Sports Solutions (DPSS). Our full-service platform creates value for our partners and clients as well as other stakeholders in the sports ecosystem, from rights owners, to brands and advertisers, and to fans and athletes. Headquartered in Beijing, China, Wanda Sports Group has more than 60 offices and 1,600 employees around the world.