France’s Arthur Horseau, ranked #237 in the world, claimed by far the biggest result of his career as he took the men’s win at Club La Santa IRONMAN Lanzarote after compatriot Sam Laidlow exited the race when leading well into the run.
But there was no such drama in the women’s event as Britain’s Lydia Dant was in a league of her own as she successfully defended her title.
Lanzarote is renowned as one of the toughest IRONMANs on the circuit, featuring a one-lap bike course that contains over 2,500 metres of elevation as well as typical hot and windy conditions – and this latest edition underlined all of that.
Pro Men – Up and down day for Laidlow
Laidlow, the winner on his reappearance at Challenge Gran Canaria last month, bossed the swim and was out of the water 53 seconds in front of Niek Heldoorn (NED), with three minutes and upwards back to the rest.
A relatively steady transition from Laidlow allowed Heldoorn to get out of T1 first but it didn’t take Laidlow long to assert on the bike.
He was nearly three minutes ahead at the 27km checkpoint and in the next section of the race he managed to extend that advantage over uber-biker Cameron Wurf (AUS), who rides in the pro peloton for the INEOS Grenadiers and whose bike course record he overhauled in Kona.
Laidlow was over five minutes up at halfway but from then on Wurf put the power down, so much so that he had moved into the lead well before T2 and starting the run the Aussie was 4:23 ahead of Laidlow and 7:21 in front of Heldoorn, with Horseau at +9:06 in fourth.
With their relative run strengths in always looked likely that Laidlow would regain the lead, which happened close to the halfway point, and he appeared on course to make it two wins out of two for the season.
However it was soon after that his pace slowed dramatically and by now Horseau, third at IRONMAN France last year and the winner of 70.3 Pays d’Aix in 2021, had worked his way up to second and was able to take full advantage.
He had paced things to perfection and kept on strongly for the win, clocking a fastest-of-the-day 2:39 marathon to finish 2:18 ahead of Heldoorn, whose father Frank is a two-time winner of the race (and was on the podium six times in total).
A further five minutes back in third was Wurf who again agonisingly missed out on one of the two IMWC qualifying slots on offer.
Horseau’s overall time of 8:22:31 shattered the previous course record of 8:30:34 which was set by Timo Bracht back in 2011.
Pro Women – Dant a class apart
The women’s race played out in contrasting fashion – it was one-way traffic for Dant as she repeated last year’s triumph in style despite it being only her second full-distance race.
She was in a lead group of three after the swim, surged clear on the bike and never looked back.
Dant was over 15 minutes to the good at one point and though the gap narrowed in the closing stages, she still crossed the line just under seven minutes ahead of Lisbeth Verbiest (BEL).
Jeanne Collonge (FRA), who was alongside Dant coming out of T1, took the final podium spot in third.
Dant had started the race as the highest-ranked athlete on the female side at #61 and this made it three wins and two runner-up spots at full and middle distance in the last 12 months.
And she was enhancing the outstanding record of British women at IRONMAN Lanzarote. This is now the 10th triumph since 2008 as she was followed in the footsteps of Bella Bayliss (twice), Catriona Morrison, Rachel Joyce, Lucy Gossage (twice), Lucy Charles-Barclay and Nikki Bartlett.
IRONMAN Lanzarote 2023 results
Saturday May 20, 2023 – 3.8km / 180km / 42.2km
- 1. Arthur Horseau (FRA) – 8:22:31
- 2. Niek Heldoorn (NED) – 8:24:48
- 3. Cameron Wurf (AUS) – 8:30:17
- 4. Jordi Montraveta Moya (ESP) – 8:43:59
- 5. Christian Stoerzer (GER) – 8:59:22
- 1. Lydia Dant (GBR) – 9:59:13
- 2. Lisbeth Verbiest (BEL) – 10:06:10
- 3. Jeanne Collonge (FRA) – 10:20:53
- 4. Heleen Moes (NED) – 10:30:13
- 5. Petra Eggenschwiler (SUI) – 10:32:38