Taking its traditional spot as the first professional race of the season, IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon saw 2023 get underway with a sixth win at her home race for Barbara Riveros, while Spain retained hold of the men’s title via Antonia Benito Lopez.
Spain reigns again in Pucon
12 months ago it was the legendary Javier Gomez taking the title in Chile. No Javier this year, but in his absence another Spaniard, Antonia Benito Lopez, took the first professional triathlon win of the 2023 season. Second at IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea last year, it was also his first IRONMAN 70.3 title.
Benito Lopez was part of a leading group of five exiting the water. That had become four at the end of the challenging 90km ride. The veteran Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) led into T2, with home athletes, Martin Ulloa and Martin Baeza Munoz, plus the Spaniard.
Once onto the run however, Antonio did his best Javier impression, cruising to the best run split of the day and taking the tape four minutes clear of Ulloa, while Marc Dubrick (USA) ran through to stop the clock at four hours exactly to complete the podium.
No stress for Barbara Riveros
Winner of the race for five consecutive editions from 2015 to 2019 inclusive, home favourite Barbara Riveros found herself in the unusual position of finishing second 12 months ago when IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon returned to the post-pandemic calendar. Normal service resumed on Sunday, when she took the title for a sixth time, in what was a small professional female field.
Exiting the opening 1.9km swim, it was fellow Chilean, Macarena Salazar, leading the way with Riveros, Romina Biagioli (ARG) and the USA’s Brittany Higgins right on her shoulder.
The PTO’s #31 ranked athlete was swift in transition however – no doubt from her distinguished ITU career – taking the lead and then taking total control. Eight and a half minutes clear of the Argentinian after 90km of riding and full ten minutes up on Higgins, she was under no stress at at starting the run.
Still, a fastest run split brought her home with a winning margin of almost 13 minutes, as Biagioli and Higgins completed a somewhat distant podium. That third however was hard-earned for the American who had been caught by Florencia Vasquez (CHI) during the run, only to reclaim that podium spot inside the final kilometre.
IRONMAN 70.3 Pucon, Chile – Sunday 8th January 2023
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km
- 1. Antonio Benito Lopez (ESP) – 3:55:16
- 2. Martin Ulloa (CHI) – 3:59:21
- 3. Felipe Santos (BRA) – 4:04:16
- 4. Denilo Melo (BRA) – 4:11:37
- 5. Martin Baeza Munoz (CHI) – 4:14:12
- 1. Barbera Riveros (CHI) – 4:26:48
- 2. Brittany Higgins (USA) – 4:45:56
- 3. Florencia Vaquez (CHI) – 4:46:26
- 4. Laura Mathews (USA) – 4:47:27
- 5. Macarena Salazar (CHI) – 4:56:46