German Justus Nieschlag, who last weekend competed at the Arena Games Triathlon in Sursee, took a big win at the other end of the spectrum at IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote on Saturday.
Nieschlag, who announced his move up to middle distance triathlon after being dropped by the German Federation at the end of 2022, beat Frenchman Mathis Margirier and Dane Thor Bendix Madsen in a closely fought contest.
Swim – Nieschlag leads from the front
In the water, Nieschlag showed his pedigree as an athlete who can swim with some of this best short course athletes in the world, by putting almost 10 seconds into 2022 PTO number one ranked swimmer Andrew Horsfall-Turner to come out of the water with a small lead over the rest of the Top 10.
Amongst that front group who entered T1 alongside the German Olympian were fellow countryman Rico Bogen, Britain’s Josh Lewis, Horsfall-Turner, former IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote winner Daniel Baekkegard and four other men.
In T1, BMC athlete and uber cyclist Madsen had +1:18 deficit to the front and former champion Pieter Heemeryck had a little over 30 seconds to make up.
Bike – Madsen makes his move
Following eighth place at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships last year, Madsen appeared to be a young star in the making. After being picked up by the BMC Pro Team at the end of 2022, the 23 year old seemed to have had a solid winter of training under his belt before stepping on the start line this weekend.
Immediately on the bike, Madsen began to make up the deficit to the front, and reached the lead group of Nieschlag, Bogen and Margirier by the 58km checkpoint. By now, Nieschlag’s hot pace at the front of the race had meant Baekkegard, who is renowned for his cycling ability, had lost more than 90 seconds to the front.
Over the final 30km, this front group of four continued to extend their lead, with Madsen content to stay with the two Germans and the Frenchman as the gap back to some of the pre-race favourites, including Baekkegard and Heemeryck, stretched out past two minutes.
By T2, it was clear that unless one of the leading four had gone too hard, the medals would be decided between them. Bogen led out onto the run, with Nieschlag in hot pursuit, as the two Germans got the jump on Margirier and Madsen in T2 to open up a little buffer for the opening kilometres.
Former champions Heemeryck and Baekkegard came into T2 together at +2:19, with Lewis a further minute back in seventh place, and the rest of the top-10, which included France’s Yvan Jarrige, American Colin Szuch and Belgian Dieter Comhair (recent winner of the Volcano Triathlon), more than six minutes off the pace.
Run – Nieschlag leaves it late
Out on the run course, Nieschlag led out hard, dropping Bogen early on and making the most of the small advantage he had gained over Margirier in T2 to keep the Frenchman at around 30 seconds back up until halfway. By the 11.2km checkpoint, the German seemed clear in front, with Margirier 25 seconds back and Bogen and Madsen left to battle for third.
Over the final 8km of the race, however, both Germans seemed to falter, as Madsen overhauled Bogen to put himself in a podium position and Margirier being rewarded for his persistence, as the Frenchman made up almost 30 seconds in 5km to get up to Nieschlag’s shoulder coming into the final 400m.
Nieschlag, fortunately, had enough in the tank to hold off the fast finishing Frenchman, as he took his third middle distance win in four starts, with Margrier 15 seconds back in second and Madsen rounding out the podium at +1:54.
IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote 2023 Results – PRO MEN
Saturday 18 March 2023 – 1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
- 1. Justus Nieschlag (GER) – 3:54:57
- 2. Mathis Margirier (FRA) – 3:55:13
- 3. Thor Bendix Madsen (DEN) – 3:56:51
- 4. Rico Boguen (GER) – 3:59:15
- 5. Daniel Baekkegard (DEN) – 4:00:49
- 6. Pięter Heemeryck (BEL) – 4:01:40
- 7. Josh Lewis (GBR) – 4:02:47
- 8. Yvan Jarrige (FRA) – 4:02:56
- 9. Dieter Comhair (BEL) – 4:03:34
- 10. Colin Szuch (USA) – 4:05:05