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IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz: Llanos and Jackson take victory

The debut of IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain saw a hometown hero win, a U.S. athlete dominate the Europeans and three British Age-Groupers top the podium

Chief Correspondent
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Neil Eddy wins Age-Group race overall in Spain

Double Gold for “two British Laura’s” in Vitoria-Gasteiz too

IRONMAN – but not long distance triathlon – made its debut at IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque region of Northern Spain on Sunday.

Already a popular event, held for many years as ‘Triathlon Vitoria-Gasteiz’, the revised format under new ownership saw the elimination of the half distance race that used to run concurrently, and full focus on the IRONMAN. Almost 1,900 entries would suggest that its popularity was not dented.

Spain’s Eneko Llanos is the hometown hero, and at 42 he proved he can still perform at the highest level and used the motivation of his local support to produce an impressive 7:55:16 clocking, 11 minutes clear of swim leader Josh Amberger (AUS).

VITORIA, SPAIN - JULY 14: Athlete Eneko Llanos of Spain celebrates winning the men's race of Ironman Vitoria-Gasteiz on July 14, 2019 in Vitoria, Spain. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images for IRONMAN

The women’s champion (pictured in the header image), was Heather Jackson (USA) who produced another victory (and Sub-9 finish), to add to success last November at Arizona. Llanos travelled from Europe to North America and also won that race, so in a twist of symmetry, Jackson returned the favour!

Jackson will now be fully focussed on the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona where – so far – she has peaked at third place in 2016 in the Pro ranks, having previously one her Age-Group in Hawaii. Third out of the water in Spain, she moved to the front shortly after the halfway mark, was six minutes clear at T2 and further extended that with a 3:06:03 marathon to close the day.

IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain – Sunday 14th July 2019
3.8km / 180km / 42.2km


1st – Eneko Llanos (ESP) – 7:55:16
2nd – Josh Amberger (AUS) – 8:06:55
3rd – Peru Alfaro (ESP) – 8:08:02
4th – Manuel Tinto (ESP) – 8:19:39
5th – Carlos Lopez Diaz (ESP) – 8:27:20


1st – Heather Jackson (USA) – 8:52:10
2nd – Nina Derron (SUI) – 9:05:33
3rd – Judith Corachan Vaquera (ESP) – 9:13:37
4th – Joanna Soltysiak (POL) – 9;19:00
5th – Frederica De Nicola (ITA) – 9:25:18


Great Britain’s Neil Eddy (30-34) was the fastest Age-Group athlete overall, clocking a swift 8:39:49 to finish just over three minutes quicker than the next fastest athlete. That’ll secure another Kona start for the Team Freespeed member who was the second fastest British amateur at Kona last year.

There were more British winners in the women’s race where Laura Addie (18-24 – 10:52:04) and Laura Fidler (35-39 – 9:56:21). Like Neil, Addie is a member of Team Freespeed and that performance was actually her debut IRONMAN.

The ‘other’ Laura – Fidler – was the sixth fastest amateur overall and won her category by 33 minutes, with splits of 1:07 / 5:00:39 / 3:42:33

The women’s 40-44 division was clearly a very strong one on Spain. Great Britain’s Camille King was the fifth fastest female athlete – a couple of minutes in front of Laura Fidler – but was ‘only’ third in F40-44, with three of the top five overall all from her category.

Other British podium athletes in Spain were:

  • Tim Riding (55-59) – 3rd
  • Evan Davies (60-64) – 3rd
  • Camille King (40-44) – 3rd
  • Angela Finch (60-64) – 3rd

Nirvana Europe logo

Nirvana Europe is the Official Travel Partner to the European IRONMAN Tour. It has been providing athlete-friendly accommodation at IRONMAN events since 2005, as well as providing extra travel services to create stress-free experiences for both athletes and spectators.

There are incredible benefits of travelling with Nirvana to Kona this year, including transfers to and from the airport on the island, orientation tours of each leg of the race and a great house for events, product launches and workshops! Check out their full, customisable service offering here: 

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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