There was a German double in front of home fans at IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau on Sunday as Justus Nieschlag and Laura Philipp notched impressive wins.
Nieschlag, one of the most successful athletes at the short-format Arena Games and winner in London in April, stepped up to middle-distance racing in style as he proved too strong for Frederic Funk.
Philipp meanwhile was returning to racing after being forced to miss the IRONMAN World Championship at St George because of Covid.
And she showed why she was one of the clear favourites for that event with her second 70.3 success of 2022.
Pro Men – Wire-to-wire for Nieschlag
In the build up to the event, Justus Nieschlag had said: “It’s been some time since my last middle distance race in Mandelieu, France . I’m really up for the race in Kraichgau to see how I do on the 70.3 distance in the strong starting field. My goal is clearly to attack the front and to race for the victory.”
And that is exactly how it panned out.
Coached like German greats Jan Frodeno and Anne Haug by Dan Lorang, Nieschlag led straight away in the water and was first out, with a 25 seconds lead.
That had risen to just over two minutes early on the bike but it was close behind with Frederic Funk (GER), Ruben Zepuntke (GER), Philipp Koutny (SUI) and Marc Eggeling (GER) all just over 90 seconds back by T2.
But any thoughts that Nieschlag might be vulnerable during the run never looked like materialising as he tapped out a 1:12 half marathon to hold his rivals comfortably at bay.
Compatriots Funk (+2:33) and Zepuntke (+4:10) joined him on the podium but this was a real statement to the 70.3 world from Nieschlag, who also dipped just under the course record time with his 3:48:21.
Pro Women – Philipp back in style
In the women’s race, Laura Philipp – racing for the first time since her 70.3 Dubai victory – was second out of the water, 25 seconds behind Julie Iemmolo (FRA).
She took over the lead just over 20km into the bike leg but she was made to work throughout the cycling by fellow German Daniela Bleymehl, winner of IRONMAN South Africa earlier this season.
So much so, they were together in T2 but from that point onwards Philipp started to assert. Midway through the run the gap had grown to over 1:30 and continued to move upwards.
Philipp crossed the line in complete control, three-and-a-half minutes clear of Bleymehl.
IRONMAN 70.3 Kraichgau 2022 results
Sunday 29 May 2022 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
- 1. Justus Nieschlag (GER) 3:48:21
- 2. Frederic Funk (GER) 3:50:53
- 3. Ruben Zepuntke (GER) 3:52:31
- 4. Marc Eggeling (GER) 3:55:02
- 5. Philipp Koutny (SUI) 3:55:33
- 1. Laura Philipp (GER) 4:19:04
- 2. Daniela Bleymehl (GER) 4:22:35
- 3. Julie Iemmolo (FRA) 4:31:24
- 4. Diede Diederiks (NED) 4:32:34
- 5. Laura Jansen (GER) 4:36:12