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Laura Siddall takes IRONMAN New Zealand victory

Great Britain's Laura Siddall earned her second career IRONMAN title at the 34th IRONMAN New Zealand in Taupo on Saturday. Great race...

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Laura Siddall earns first ever British win at IRONMAN New Zealand

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[CLICK HERE FOR THE PRO MEN’S REPORT FROM TAUPO]

“Having won her first IRONMAN last year, she is quite capable of adding another one here.”

That’s what I said earlier this week in our preview of IRONMAN New Zealand about Laura Siddall. Fourth in 2016, second in 2017 – congratulations to ‘Sid’ on claiming the top step of the podium in Taupo.

Four times second at Challenge Wanaka, and also second at IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo in 2016 (by just eight seconds), the Brit – who has spent much of her life and career in Australia – must feel like she has finally conquered New Zealand!

From multiple Age-Group World Champion in 2013, she just keeps getting better and better.

The Race

It’s fair to say that the Pro women’s race didn’t, on paper, have the same depth of the men’s – but with defending champion Jocelyn McCauley (USA) present, any victory was going to have to be hard earned. What few had predicted was quite how much of a challenge Teresa Adam (NZL) would be.

Adam started the day with a speedy 49:33 swim, which gave her a three and a half minute lead over McCauley, and Alise Selsmark (AUS). Siddall was in the next group covering 4th-7th, alongside Caroline St-Pierre (CAN), Indy Kraal (NZL) and Kate Bevilaqua (AUS), six minutes behind Adam and 2:30 down on McCauley. A year ago, that deficit was only two seconds at the same point. Siddall rode exceptionally at Challenge Wanaka two weeks ago – it was time to call upon that once again…

Any thoughts that Adam would quickly fade away, well, those thoughts faded away! 45km gone and Adam still held first position. McCauley was in second (+47 seconds) and Siddall was now clear in third, three minutes back to Adam.

McCauley moved through to take the lead ahead of the halfway mark, but Adam was still holding off a closing Siddall in second place. The 100km point marked the catch for McCauley and Siddall to once again, potentially, set up their head-to-head from 12 months ago. They had now passed Adam – but she wasn’t losing much time, and wasn’t ready to fade off into the sunset…

Laura managed to cross the T2 dismount line just ten seconds clear of McCauley, who in turn was only a minute clear of Adam after the 180km. Fourth placed Indy Kraal (NZL) was over 17 minutes back in fourth place – but the leading trio were gearing up for a real battle over the next 26.2 miles.

Very swift in T2, Laura headed out on to the run first and held a narrow lead over McCauley through the first 10km, only for the defending champion to regain the lead at the end of lap one. Real racing. As the 20km mark was approaching the Brit had fought back to re-take the lead – but there was still just seconds in it. While losing time, Adam was still moving well less than four minutes back, ready to take advantage should either of the leading duo fade.

Siddall kept the pressure up on lap two, gradually pulled clear and with 28km done she was now three and half minutes clear. Adam however was now running faster than both of them… and just seconds behind McCauley in third. It was still all to play for.

Siddall and Adam continued to run at almost identical paces over the next 8km, Siddall’s lead only growing by a few seconds, but it was McCauley who was feeling the effects of her efforts, now seemingly destined for third place.

When the clock stopped, Siddall’s marathon was a 3:06:12 and she took victory, less than a minute outside the nine-hour barrier in 9:00:45, the second fastest time in the races’ history. Adam’s great day finished with a 3:09:35 for second as McCauley took third, closing out with a 3:177:44 marathon.

In the last two weeks Challenge Wanaka and IRONMAN New Zealand have provided two fantastically exciting races. Let’s hope this is just a taster of what is to come throughout the 2018 racing season.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf3Mv74BiaP/

IRONMAN New Zealand – Saturday 3rd March 2018
3.8km / 180km / 42.2km

PRO WOMEN

1st – Laura Siddall (GBR) – 9:00:45
2nd – Teresa Adam (NZL) – 9:05:36
3rd – Jocelyn McCauley (USA) – 9:12:52
4th – Alise Selsmark (AUS) – 9:42:59
5th – Indy Kraal (NZL) – 9:44:27
6th – Helena Kotopulu (CZE) – 9:44:48
7th – Jessica Mitchell (AUS) – 9:48:44
8th – Caroline St-Pierre (CAN) – 9:56:37
9th – Julia Grant (NZL) – 9:59:43
10th – Palmira Alvarez (MEX) – 10:00:52

[CLICK HERE FOR THE PRO MEN’S REPORT FROM TAUPO]

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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