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IRONMAN South Africa 2023 results: Chevalier proves a class apart

Leon Chevalier took the title as Bradley Weiss finished runner up for the second year in a row at IRONMAN South Africa

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France’s Leon Chevalier notched the biggest win of his career so far as he closed out a clear-cut win at IRONMAN South Africa, which was also the African Championship.

The 26-year-old took over the lead early on the run from Cam Wurf (AUS) – who had set the pace on the bike – and never looked back, crossing the line over four minutes minutes ahead of Bradley Weiss (RSA), who was runner-up for the second year in a row.

Mathias Petersen (DEN) rounded out the podium in third, with Wurf just being overhauled by Rasmus Svenningsson (SWE) for the all-important fourth and final qualifying spot for the IRONMAN World Championship.

The build up to the event had seen pre-race favourite Alistair Brownlee rule himself out 48 hours before as a precaution due to a “slightly sore hip”.

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Swim – Conditions curtail first discipline

Due to incoming storm reports of thunder and wind, both the PRO and age group swim was delayed by 30 minutes and shortened to 900m.

It was no surprise therefore that the gaps were small, with 2022 third-place finisher Matt Trautman (RSA) out of the water first alongside Weiss.

Chevalier was at +38s heading out of T1, while Wurf was at +30s before beginning his customary charge on the bike.

Bike – Wurf puts pours on the power

Wurf’s build-up to the race had seen him riding with distinction again for his INEOS Grenadiers team at the UAE Tour and it didn’t take him long to surge into the lead on the bike, albeit in very different conditions which were overcast but humid.

Cam Wurf bike IRONMAN South Africa 2023 photo credit IRONMAN South Africa
Cam Wurf showed the way on the bike [Photo credit: IRONMAN South Africa]

After 60km he’d put over a minute into what was now a three-man chase pack – Chevalier, Weiss and Trautman.

But things changed in the second half as Trautman dropped out of the equation, Weiss fell over four minutes behind – but Chevalier closed the gap to just 40 seconds by T2.

Run – Chevalier takes command

And within the first 3km of the run it was Chevalier who was in front and the man who has wins at Embrunman and the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon on his CV was never to be headed from that point onwards.

Leon Chevalier run leg 2023 photo credit IRONMAN South Africa
Chevalier was in splendid isolation on the run [Photo credit: IRONMAN South Africa]

His lead wasn’t far off five minutes at halfway, with Weiss now closing down Wurf by this stage.

And as the marathon wore on many eyes were on Wurf to see firstly whether he could hang onto third place – and then fourth once he’d been collared by Petersen.

But agonisingly he was run out of even that in the closing stages, with Svenningsson sealing the final Nice spot.

Pro cyclist Wurf’s marathon time was 3:03:41, in contrast to the 2:47 of the front two, Petersen’s 2:45 and Svenningsson’s 2:52.

Afterwards winner Chevalier said: “The day started off with uncertainty, with lightning and thunderstorms, and it was a tough call to make for the organization but to shorten the swim was the right call. And probably what was best for everyone’s safety.”

He continued: “I was near the front of the race coming out the water and then I worked hard on the bike. I was on the bike with the two local boys, Matt Trautman and Bradley Weiss, and we worked hard on the bike. Unfortunately, Trautman had a puncture, and I was able to distance Bradley, which is good because I know he is such a strong runner.

“Then I set off on the run, Cameron was up front, but I managed to reel him in quickly. I had two good laps on the run and two tough ones, and it got really warm on course too. There was an amazing crowd and great support throughout the course, it was unbelievable. I am really happy with that win.”

ISUZU IRONMAN Africa Championship 2023 Results

IRONMAN South Africa, Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth
Sunday March 5, 2023 – 3.8km / 180.2km / 42.2km

PRO Men

  • 1. Leon Chevalier (FRA) – 7:11:44
  • 2. Bradley Weiss (RSA) – 7:16:03
  • 3. Mathias Petersen (DEN) – 7:20:55
  • 4. Rasmus Svenningsson (SWE) – 7:23:15
  • 5. Cameron Wurf (AUS) – 7:27:55
  • 6. Jon Breivold (NOR) – 7:30:39
  • 7. Arnaud Guilloux (FRA) – 7:35:09
  • 8. Andrea Salvisberg (SUI) – 7:39:06
  • 9. Michael Weiss (AUT) – 7:42:58
  • 10. Matt Trautman (RSA) – 7:49:40
Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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