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Lucy Gossage, Javi Gomez win at Ironman 70.3 Staffs
It was a Gossagefest in Staffs!
Ironman 70.3 Staffs had it all – a world class field from both domestic and international sources, big KPR and prize money and those all important world champs slots that attract entrants in their thousands. How would it play out?
Well the titles went to the two pre-race favourites in Gossage and Gomez. Gossage totally smashing the rest of the field whilst Gomez had to do it the hard way and run his way back into first. Check out how the race unfolded and the final pro finishing places.
Despite the cool conditions at the start, the atmosphere and energy between the athletes and crowds was electric.
As the pro field took the plunge at 7am to commence the day’s racing, it was Australian Nick Kastelein who quickly set the tone amongst the compact but talented men’s field, exiting the 1.2 mile swim in a swift 23m33s, with Javier Gomez and Will Clarke amongst the following pack.
Kastelein punctured, enabling Gomez to take over the lead with Romain Guillaume (FRA) not far behind, but the early big move on the bike was from Markus Thomschke (GER), who despite not being out of the water in the top ten, quickly moved into 5th place.
Markus set the fastest bike split of the day, covering 56 miles in a mere 2h14m43s on a challenging course, which saw him dismount first at the historic Shugborough Estate and set off on the run with a 2m41s lead over the chase group of Guillaume and Gomez.
Will Clarke dismounted in 4th place leaving himself a lot of work to do on the half marathon if he was to podium. Surely playing on Will’s mind was the 2 weeks of recovery after his first ever IRONMAN Lanzarote.
Thomschke managed to hold his strong pace, which guaranteed him a podium place, but it was not a match for the leg speed of Olympic silver medallist and reigning IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Javier Gomez who passed him about 3 miles into the run. Gomez never looked back, cruising across the finish line with a 1h13m half marathon to finish in a superb 4h2m13s, much to the delight of the crowds, many of whom being local to Staffordshire, were lucky enough to witness the spectacle of an IRONMAN 70.3 finish for the first time.
The gap between 2nd and 3rd stayed constant, with Markus holding off Gomez right to the finish line, finishing in 4h07m33s and 4h09m07s respectively. Exhausted local hero Will Clarke managed to hang on for a commendable 4th place, finish with the screaming crowds bringing a smile to his face.
On his win Gomez said: “The crowds were great – it makes such a difference to have the support and I love this kind of race. The bike course really suits me. I prefer smaller roads and hills rather than a fast flat motorway.”
The women’s pro field was GBR dominant suggesting a very high chance of an all British podium.
Recent full time pro Georgie Rutherford led the field out of the water and in doing so established a bit of a lead over the second group which included Jacqui Slack (GBR), Sam Warriner (NZ), and Eva Wutti (AUT).
Other UK podium hopefuls were Suzi Cheetham and Lucy Gossage who exited the water between 90 seconds and 2 minutes after Rutherford, giving them a lot of work to do on the bike. Gossage quickly made up on her deficit and was working well with Eva to build a substantial lead 25 miles into the bike.
However disaster struck, first for Eva with a puncture that was irreparable and likewise slowed down the fast charging Suzi Cheetham, though fortunately without disaster, as she was able to repair it before returning to racing.
Lucy managed to capitalise on her lead, starting the run with a 9m30s gap over Rutherford and a further 12m12s cushion on known runner Suzi Cheetham. With Lucy running without any pressure she could run her own race, but the real race shifted to the balance of the finish positions. The big winners were Suzi Cheetham and Sam Warriner who both produced strong runs to claim 2nd and 3rd place respectively behind the ecstatic Lucy Gossage, once again giving that trademark smile as she crossed the line first in a time of 4h31m09s.
On her win Lucy said, “I’m so pleased. I’m really really pleased. The crowds and support were amazing. To have all these people here that I started racing with as an age grouper really spurs me on. The bike course was pretty hilly but the run was absolutely stunning.”
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy, said: “We were thrilled to be the host of the first ever IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire and the inaugural completion certainly didn’t disappoint. What a truly fantastic weekend.
The event was huge opportunity to showcase to people what a great county Staffordshire is and I am sure that IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire will be a firm feature on our tourism calendar for years to come. Thanks to everyone who has made the inaugural competition such a huge success ….and roll on Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire 2016.”
Kevin Stewart, Managing Director of UK & Ireland, commented “We’d like to thank Staffordshire County Council and our partners for enabling us to stage our first IRONMAN 70.3 in Staffordshire and to all the athletes, spectators and volunteers who play such a key role towards the event and very much look forward to building on the success of this for 2016.”
|1.||Javier Gomez 4:02:13||LUCY GOSSAGE (GBR) 4:31:09|
|2.||MarkusThomschke 4:07:33||SUSIE CHEETHAM (GBR) 4:41:28|
|3.||Romain Guillaume 4:09:07||Samantha Warriner (4:46:36)|
|4.||WILL CLARKE (GBR) 4:11:10||GEORGIE RUTHERFORD (GBR) 4:48:15|
|5.||Alexander Schilling||ELEANOR HARESIGN (GBR) 4:53:18|
|6.||Michael Fox||NIKKI BARTLETT (GBR) 4:53:57|
|7.||OLIVER SIMON 4:20:06||VICKY GILL (GBR) 4:56:02|
|8.||STEPHEN HARRISON (GBR) 4:22:26||JACQUI SLACK (GBR) 4:56:29|
|9.||Brad Williams||AMY FORSHAW (GBR) 5:00:20|
|10.||CHRIS STANDIDGE (GBR) (AG) 4:26:07||KATHRYN KING (GBR) 5:06:45|
|11.||JO CARRITT (GBR) 5:10:27|
|46.||ALISTAIR ROBINSON (GBR) 4:43:57|
|62||SIMON BRIERLEY (SEY) 4:48:23|
|604.||Miguel Fidalgo 5:46:07|