Before we mention the results, big respect to the organising team at IRONMAN Italy Emilia-Romagna for even being able to get the full distance race underway on Sunday. Huge storms – which had resulted in multiple deaths in the region earlier in the week – hit the host town of Cervia on Saturday, forcing the cancellation of the event and a huge rescheduling effort.
With a huge 70.3 event taking place on Sunday already, the local teams and authorities reworked their logistics in 36 hours to enable both events to take place on Sunday. That is a monumental task.
When the racing was done, Germany’s Svenja Thoes was able to put behind her that DQ at IRONMAN Ireland to take the victory, leading every single step of the marathon. That will also be an early slot for Kona 2023, should she choose to accept it.
Debutant Derron takes swim lead
With a far more inviting Adriatic Sea than what would have been impossible conditions on Saturday, former ETU Olympic distance champion Julie Derron was first back to shore after the opening 3.8km in a time of 53:18. Her debut over the full distance, just seven days ago the Swiss athlete was finishing 11th at the World Triathlon Cup in Karlovy Vary.
Around 80 seconds back, a trio of athletes followed, comprising Chantal Sainter (GBR), Željka Šaban Miličić (CRO) and Johanna Ahrens (GER).
Great Britain’s Tara Grosvenor exited five minutes down on the leader, part of chasing group of six. In there with her was a German trio – Margrit Elfers, Svenja Thoes and Jana Uderstadt – plus Lisa-Marie Dornauer (AUT) and Gabriella Zelinka (HUN).
Elfers and Thoes pull away on the bike
As she did when finishing fifth at the Canadian Open, Derron was on her road bike at the front. Through 100km she retained her lead, but little more than a minute back, Elfers, Thoes and Zelinka had made up significant time and were closing in fast.
Behind that trio, a chasing quartet of Sainter, Uderstadt, Ahrens and Dornauer were now four and half minutes behind the front of the race.
Over the second half of the ride, Margrit Elfers was setting the pace and pulling away, but Svenja Thoes didn’t let the gap grow too big, and as transition approached, they reached the dismount line together. Elfers set the quickest time of the day (4:33:01), but it was Thoes who was quickest through T2 and first out onto the run course. She looked very smooth in the process.
Derron completed her 180km exactly six minutes later, Zelinka in fourth (+8:17) with Katharina Grohman (GER) riding through the field up to fifth place exactly ten minutes down on the leading duo.
No catching Svenja
Thoes lead from the first step of the marathon. 10-miles in and Derron was up to second and had reduced her T2 deficit by more than half – passing Elfers in the process – but was it a case of too much, too soon? Svenja was still moving well herself, and certainly not fading, at least visually.
10km later and it was still Thoes first, Derron second, with almost the same margin to the second. The fastest runner on the course was actually now up into third place, as Joanna Ryter (SUI) had passed eight athletes over the first 26km to move into a potential podium position. Third at IRONMAN Texas and second in Brazil, was she on the way to another strong result? Ranked in the top-10 of the PTO’s overall Run Rankings, she knows how to get it done in the final discipline of the day.
With 5km to go, the stride of Svenja Thoes was showing little sign of change. She was now regaining time on Derron, with her advantage now back up to 5:42, almost the same as it was 37km earlier. Ryter was making third place her own, unless Derron significantly slowed in the final stages.
There were no last minutes dramas, and the podium finished up as Thoes, Derron and Ryter. Excitement behind though, with 4th/5th/6th/7th all separated by less than 60 seconds.
IRONMAN Italy 2022 results
Sunday 18 September 2022 – 3.8km / 175km** / 42.2km
(Originally scheduled for Saturday 17, moved to Sunday 18 due to forecasted weather indicating an ‘Orange’ weather warning)
** Bike course adjusted slightly due to all of the weather issues on Saturday.
PRO Women **
- 1. Svenja Thoes (GER) – 8:37:22
- 2. Julie Derron (SUI) – 8:43:20
- 3. Joanna Ryter (SUI) – 8:45:13
- 4. Katherina Grohman (GER) – 8:55:53
- 5. Kristin Liepold (GER) – 8:56:02
- 6. Gabriela Zelinka (HUN) – 8:56:08
- 7. Margrit Elfers (GER) – 8:56:42
(** No Pro Men event at IRONMAN Italy in 2022)