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Third consecutive IRONMAN Australia win for Laura Siddall

The site of her first win over the distance in 2017, Great Britain's Laura Siddall won a thrilling IRONMAN Australia race on Sunday in Port Macquarie

Chief Correspondent
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Fifth career iron-distance victory for Great Britain’s Laura Siddall

Cameron Wurf secures IRONMAN Australia in course record time

By her own consistent standards, 2019 had started in rather underwhelming fashion for Laura Siddall. Third at Challenge Wanaka and a relatively distant fourth at IRONMAN New Zealand (a race she had won 12 months earlier), were not results to build the confidence of an athlete that has consistently improved year-on-year.

I did comment in the Weekend Preview, “…almost two months on from those races she’ll have had time to regroup and plan her approach into Australia.” It’s fair to say she achieved that on Sunday – and then some. Laura Siddall is back, courtesy of a thrilling back-and-forth battle with Caroline Steffen.

IRONMAN Australia was the venue of her first title in 2017, and that lead to a 2018 season which featured three full-distance wins in New Zealand, Australia and the ETU Long Distance Championships at Challenge Madrid.

Sunday’s race started in familiar fashion – a deficit at T1 – where Kelsey Withrow (USA) and Caroline Steffen (SUI) lead the way, building a lead of almost six and a half minutes over Laura as they reached dry land.

Steffen was soon solo at the front on the bike, and over the first 60km had slightly extended that advantage of Siddall to around eight minutes.

The tide started to turn a little in the second half of the ride with Siddall passing Withrow around the 100km mark, while also beginning to close on the experienced ‘Xena’, twice a second-placed finisher at the IRONMAN World Championship. The catch finally came well inside the final 10km of the bike, and as they reached T2 they were separated by just half a minute. It would be all to play for on the run course.

In a reverse of the late stages of the bike, Steffen started to claw back a few seconds during the opening 10km of the run which soon saw them running stride-for-stride at the 10km mark.

Siddall was then able to pull away… but again, it was just a few seconds/km and at the mid-point of the run, her lead was less than a minute. Siddall’s resilience started to show, and with the incentive of a third consecutive IRONMAN Australia title, she was finally able to consistently gain time each kilometre during the second half of the run, crossing the line after a 3:13:09 marathon to finish 5:30 clear of Steffen, who had run 3:17:46. Withrow finished with the best run of the day, 3:11:08, to complete the top three podium positions.

It was an emotional finish for the Brit, reflected in her finish line celebrations:

Pro Men

Having ended 2018 with second at IRONMAN Western Australia and kicking off 2019 by winning the Cannes International Triathlon, Kona bike course record holder Cameron Wurf making significant strides towards the top of the sport. From Olympic rower to Pro cyclist to Elite triathlete, the 2017 IRONMAN Wales winner has the confidence to believe he can win in Kona. As each race passes, more and more people start to believe him.

Almost four and half minutes behind after the swim, the leading group comprised Matt Franklin (NZL), Denis Chevrot (FRA), Clayton Fettell (AUS), Luke Bell (AUS), Tim Reed (AUS), Mark Bowstead (NZL) and James Davy (AUS).

Wurf had eliminated his swim deficit to join the leading group on the road by 60km and by 90km he was 1:46 clear, which he extended to 8:238 (over Bowstead) by T2.

Aside from an ’empty your stomach; moment in the closing kilometres, Wurf showed no signs that he was going to do anything but win, adding a 2:50:20 marathon to his 4:22:53 bike split and a winning margin three and half minutes over 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Tim Reed.

IRONMAN Australia, Port Macquarie – Sunday 5th May 2019
3.8km / 180km / 42.2km

PRO MEN

1st – Cameron Wurf (AUS) – 8:06:18
2nd – Tim Reed (AUS) – 8:09:51
3rd – Denis Chevrot (FRA) – 8:16:06
4th – Mark Bowstead (NZL) – 8:29:21
5th – Clayton Fettell (AUS) – 8:32:53

PRO WOMEN

1st – Laura Siddall (GBR) – 9:11:59
2nd – Caroline Steffen (SUI) – 9:17:29
3rd – Kelsey Withrow (USA) – 9:19:12
4th – Melanie Burke (NZL) – 9:26:55
5th – Jessica Mitchell (AUS) – 10:07:59

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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