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German triathletes dominant in Lanzarote

Faris Al-Sultan - Lanzarote 2013

Faris Al-Sultan – Lanzarote 2013

Double delight for German triathletes at Lanzarote Ironman 2013 for Faris Al-Sultan and Kirsten Möller

For the first time in Lanzarote Ironman history the participants were greeted with rain at the start. This however couldn’t put a damper on the event considering the swim is the first leg of this gruelling challenge. The skies were to clear during the cycle leg and with the gusts of wind on hand, Lanzarote certainly lived up to its billing as the toughest Ironman event on the planet.

For the fiery Al-Sultan, the decision to race here after the problems of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, were surely vindicated by his decisive victory.

He may have mentioned during Friday’s Press Conference that he was not here as a tourist, however there is every certainty that he would have got to have seen more of the island than most tourists do, on his way to victory.

From the moment he took the lead on the cycle, his authority was never threatened, though he did receive a scare when eventual 2nd place finisher, Miquel Blanchart of Spain, closed close to 4 minutes over the first 21km of the marathon. This triggered an attack of his own by the ‘bearded beast’ as he regained 3 minutes over the next 10km of the marathon which led to an all too painful last 10 kilometer of the race.

This assured Al-sultan of a well deserved victory margin of close to 10 minutes over the Spaniard at the finish and the 2013 title.

In the women’s race, it became somewhat of a winner’s procession once Kristin Möller took the lead, also on the cycle leg, just as her compatriot.

With Möller’s strength over the run, it was considered very much a formality when she started the marathon leg with more than a 12 minute cushion ahead of the Netherland’s Heleen bij de Vaate, who herself  had ridden herself into 2nd place on the cycle leg.

The diminutive 29 year old proved her running prominence to register the only sub 3 hour marathon amongst the women with 2:58:37, this would increase her winning margin to more than 30 minutes by the finish. A truly remarkable day for Möller, 5th out the water and 1st for both the cycle and run leg.

Third amongst the women was last year’s 5th placed finisher, Spain’s Seleta Castro, not only had she improved on her 2012 performance, she had incredibly been able to bounce back from last month’s disappointment of 13th place in South Africa.

With the top 2 places comfortably decided, nothing had prepared us for the close finish of Estonia’s Kirill Kotsegarov, who was able to haul the UK’s Phil Graves in over the run leg, closing to within 4 seconds by the 36.6 km mark, and thereafter moving away to win by the narrow margin of 8 seconds at the finish. For Kotsegarov, it was great to be back to form, after having had a torrid time over the last 2 years, crashing in Wales (2011), where he would break his collarbone as well as crashing out at this event last year. To be back on the podium was an enormous result for the likeable Estonian.

For Graves it was a bitter sweet result, as his podium finish seemed secure until being passed late in the race by Kirill. The sweetness would no doubt be that Phillip was able to bury the DNF’s of events past by completing his first Lanzarote Ironman. We are sure he will be looking for bigger things in 2014.

The day was quite a tough experience for a number of the more fancied athletes, none more so than Bella and Stephen Bayliss, who came into the event looking to improve on their Top 2 placings of 2012. It was not to be, however we are certain they shall be able to bounce back and transform this disappointment into great results in the same way as the Men’s winner and the 3rd placed woman.

For the record: Winners of 2013 Faris Al-Sultan(GER) 8:42:41 and Kristin Möller (GER) 09:37:35

A great event and a great day out on the island of Lanzarote in the Canaries.

(more data, reports and images to follow)

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