70.3 Euro Champs: Von Berg, Hauschildt win in Elsinore

IRONMAN 70.3 Elsinore / IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship

Close second for Great Britain’s Adam Bowden in Denmark

For the second year, the 2018 edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship was held in Elsinore, Denmark. The race offered a $75,000 prize purse and a P-1500 points status towards Kona / 70.3 World Championship qualification. For a while, it looked like there might be a British winner too…

PRO MEN

The opening 1.9km swim saw Adam Bowden (GBR) lead the way with a 22:08 swim time, heading a group of 12 athletes all within 25 seconds, which included the likes of defending champion Michael Raelert (GER), Rodolphe Von Berg (USA), Ruedi Wild (SUI) and Emilio Aguayo Munoz (ESP) among some of the pre-race favourites. A little further back among potential names to watch, came Maurice Clavel (GER) +1:44, Bart Aernouts (BEL) +2:49 and Michael Weiss (AUT) +4:14, in a men’s Pro field which included almost 40 starters.

The cycle leg soon saw four athletes separate themselves at the front of the race. Through the first 40km and it was Raelert, Von Berg, Aguayo Munoz and Bowden at the front of the race. The Brit has seemingly transitioned well to the middle distance this year, winning Challenge Roma, fifth at 70.3 Barcelona and eighth at The Championship, all while displaying top tier swim and run performances. This was looking like his best cycling performance to date as he gets used to the TT bike and the pacing of 70.3 racing.

Raelert and Von Berg did manage to pull away over the second half of the ride, arriving at T1 just under two minutes ahead of Aguayo Munoz and Bowden, who were still clear of a chasing four of Aernouts, Clavel, Wild and Philipp Koutny (SUI) at three minutes. With his running legs, Bowden was most certainly still in contention for the win.

Bowden powered through the opening section of the run – perhaps even a little too quick? – and by five miles / 8km he shoulder-to-shoulder with Von Berg, with Raelert apparently withdrawing from the race at T2. Adam pushed on – but was never able to gain a substantial gap over the American, who was keeping his deficit within 20 seconds over the next 10km. With just 2km to go, the pair were side-by-side once again.

Despite Bowden recording the fastest run of the day, again (1:10:44), Von Berg proved the strongest over the final kilometre and fought back to top the podium by just 30 seconds. Bart Aernouts (BEL) just held off Ruedi Wild (SUI) for third place.

Another strong performance and no doubt learning for the Brit, all of which should add further to his belief that he can compete with the best over this format of racing. Four races in, it has been an impressive start his non-drafting career.

PRO WOMEN

In truth – and with a $37,500 purse to race for between them – a female Pro start field of just six athletes, for a Championship event, is not a great advert for the sport. That’s not the fault of those that raced, but something is clearly wrong somewhere?

That said, two of those athletes were ‘premier league’, and not surprisingly, this race would prove to be a head-to-head between Helle Frederiksen (DEN) and twice IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Melissa Hauschildt (AUS).

Frederiksen built a 2:42 buffer over the Aussie during the swim, before Melissa set to work on chasing here down on two wheels. That deficit remained pretty consistent over the first half of the ride, before Hauschildt finally started to make inroads. It took until the final 10km to make the pass, and by T2 she added a further 52 seconds to start the run on her own. Sara Svensk (SWE) started the half marathon over six minutes back.

Giving Hauschildt a head start on the run typically only ends with one result, but Frederiksen wasn’t giving up easily and over the first half of the run she had given up only 20 seconds. Hauschildt ended with a 1:20:44 with Helle stopping the clock at 1:22:13. Svensk (1:24:21) maintained her position to complete the top three.

IRONMAN 70.3 European Championship, Elsinore, Denmark – Sunday 17th June 2018
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO MEN

1st – Rodolphe Von Berg (USA) – 3:40:22
2nd – Adam Bowden (GBR) – 3:40:52
3rd – Bart Aernouts (BEL) – 3:44:38
4th – Ruedi Wild (SUI) – 3:44:46
5th – Max Nuemann (AUS) – 3:46:11
6th – Emilio Aguayo Munoz (ESP) – 3:46:39
7th – Yvan Jarridge (FRA) – 3:46:46
8th – Philipp Koutny (SUI) – 3:47:03
9th – Maurica Clavel (GER) – 3:48:06
10th – Michael Weiss (AUT) – 3:48:11

PRO WOMEN

1st – Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) – 4:07:18
2nd – Helle Frederiksen (DEN) – 4:09:43
3rd – Sara Svensk (SWE) – 4:17:11
4th – Xelia Luxem (BEL) – 4:27:02
5th – Heini Hartkainen (FIN) – 4:42:04
6th – Trine Boye Larsen (DEN) – 4:42:28