Emma Pallant leads British podium sweep at IRONMAN 70.3 Pays d’Aix

Emma Pallant - IRONMAN 70.3 Pays d'Aix 2019

Three wins back-to-back victories for Emma Pallant

Andi Böcherer defends Pays d’Aix title as Adam Bowden secures another podium

(Photo credit for header image: http://activ-images.fr/)

As the race season starts to move towards the peak summer months, Great Britain’s Emma Pallant is looking looking as though her tough training schedule is ready to put her into contention wherever and whenever she races. Victory on Sunday at IRONMAN 70.3 Pays d’Aix, France – by more than five minutes – follows up on success at Challenge Gran Canaria and the Mallorca Olympic Distance over the past two weeks.

While Germany’s Andi Böcherer was impressive in defending his 2018 win, the ever-consistent Adam Bowden took second place courtesy of another impressive running performance.

Elite Women

Last year’s ‘breakthrough Brit’ at this race was Fenella Langridge, who finished third in her first Pro 70.3 start. Her return started well, a 26:49 swim leaving her around 40 seconds back on IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth winner and ITU regular, India Lee. Pallant was two minutes behind Lee, with Nikki Bartlett arriving at T2 another 60 seconds later.

By the midpoint of the ride, Pallant in her preferred ‘challenging’ course environment had eliminated her swim deficit, and the front of the race featured the trio of Brits – Lee, Pallant and Langridge – in close contention, with Bartlett having also move up into fourth.

Langridge’s day would however soon come to a painful ending, with a bike crash taking her out of the race – and straight to hospital for stitches in both arms. Not how she wanted the race to end, but thankfully a few hours later she could still smile.

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Not the way I wanted the day to end but that's racing Unfortunately came off on a decent, no broken bones but 6 stitches in each arm. Not sure if the 12m rule applies to video motos 🤷‍♀️, maybe @ironmantri could fill me in Taking the positives felt fantatstic out there today and seen some big improvements over the winter Quick mention to @rachelmcb who also had a fall. Lovely to meet you and I hope you heal quick 🥰 Congrats to @em_pallant @nikkibartlett1 and @indielee43 for a strong race • #TeamTriForce #lakeslodges #reapbikes #searchforspeed #onrunning #iracezone3 #triathlon #triathlontraining #trigirls #strongnotskinny #swimbikerun #ironman #ironman703 #thisgirlcan #triathletes #ironmanlife #nutrition #sportsnutrition #cycling #cyclinglife #running #swimming

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Arriving at T2, Pallant and Lee were still locked together, with Bartlett just 1:20 back, having just taken the fastest bike split of the day from Pallant by 40 seconds (but having taken more than a minute longer in T1, was now slightly further behind than she was at T1…!).

Pallant quickly hit the front and it was game over for the race win – she would go on to run a 1:16:59 for a comfortable win. Behind, Lee was initially extending her lead slightly over Bartlett, but then the athlete who is also combining her racing this year with Paratriathlon Guide duties for GB’s top visually impaired athletes, started to turn the tables and was finally able to make the pass and take second place within the final kilometre of the run.

Elite Men

When he is fit, healthy and injury-free, Germany’s Andi Böcherer is very tough to beat. While he lost just under a minute in the swim to the leaders – which included Great Britain’s Adam Bowden – 10km later he had eliminated that loss, and he soon blasted by on his strongest discipline to lead, solo, at the front of the race.

With a 2:09:52 bike split (the next best was 2:12:31 from Andreas Dreitz), he had a lead of 3:45 starting the run over Marcus Herbst (GER), with Dreitz and Arnaud Guilloux (FRA) 4:20 back. Bowden started the run in fifth. While five and half minutes was (probably) too much to close on the impressive Böcherer, he has been so consistently excellent in all of his middle distance runs that a podium was certainly within his grasp.

Böcherer did indeed defend his title in style, while Adam soon dispatched Herbst, Dreitz and Guilloux within the first 6km to move into second. He continued to close on Böcherer at every split, but that T2 margin would prove too much to close, despite yet another fastest run split performance from the winner of IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai.

IRONMAN 70.3 Pays d’Aix, France – Sunday 12th May 2019
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO WOMEN

1st – Emma Pallant (GBR) – 4:19:56
2nd – Nikki Bartlett (GBR) – 4:25:15
3rd – India Lee (GBR) – 4:25:30

DNF – Fenella Langridge (GBR) – Crash

Emma Pallant
Emma ran in the new HOKA ONE ONE Carbon X shoe – Photo Credit to Activ’ images – http://activ-images.fr/

PRO MEN

1st – Andi Böcherer (GER) – 3:52:16
2nd – Adam Bowden (GBR) – 3:53:28
3rd – Andreas Dreitz (GER) – 3:56:37

11th – Sam Pictor (GBR) – 4:07:43

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Ironman 70.3 Pays D’Aix – 11th place. Not what I’ve worked for, but probably to be expected after two weeks of illness and no real training. Just felt flat all day. After a disappointing swim I worked hard on the bike and managed to work my way forward a bit but just couldn’t get close to the main race up front. Felt positive starting the run but faded badly as it went on and just had nothing to offer. Hopefully not a reflection of fitness and optimistic that my form will quickly return with a couple of consistent weeks training under my belt. The winds out on the bike were pretty mental and big credit to @aerocoachuk for designing wheels that handle superbly!! Was able to ride a rapid 70mm/disc combo in some serious cross/headwinds. Just sorry not to do them proper justice today. I will be back and I will be stronger. Still to put a complete race together in 2019, but hoping it is just around the corner! As ever, big thanks to @pictorclaire for her continued support, and great to see a very strong British contingent racing in France today! #im703aix #tritraining #triathlon #triathlontraining #triathlete #ironmantri #ironmantriathlon #swimbikerun #multisport #trilife #triathlonlife #trifit #wearetriathlon #ironman #racing #raceday #iracezone3 #racezone3 #fasterthanever

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