Javier Gomez, Daniela Ryf take 70.3 Dubai

Chief Correspondent

Three Brits in the top-ten at IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai

A new year, but two very well known names top the podium in the UAE to kick off the 2017 season

The second edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai this morning, saw two former World Champions over the distance start their year in the manner to which they have become well accustomed. Winning.

Ryf wins, while the Brits take the fastest swim, bike and run honours

Two-time and defending IRONMAN World Champion, Daniela Ryf, rarely finishes anywhere but first and today would be no different – but for one British athlete, it was a breakthrough performance, even leading out the Swiss legend on to the run course.

After a frustrating second half of 2016 with injuries, it was not a shock to see that Lucy Charles was the lone swim leader out of the 1.9km swim in 26:07. Such is her brilliance in the water, that a solo lead of ‘just’ 35 seconds might be considered below par for her. Seriously, she’s that good!

Ellie Salthouse (AUS), Daniela Ryf (SUI) were next into T1, with Emma Pallant (28:31) and Kimberley Morrison (28:33) having strong swims too, particularly when measured against one of the best swimmers in the sport

The real mover on the bike however was Morrison. Always her strongest discipline, today she showed she has seriously upped her game over the winter to world class levels, and she would close her swim deficit on two wheels. The fastest bike split (2:08:21) saw her up into the lead, mixing it with multiple World Championship winning Ryf.

The pair reached T2 together, a minute up on Ellie Salthouse and almost five minutes clear of Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN). Lucy Charles was eighth into T2 (@ 6:49), with Emma Pallant 10th (@ 7:54). That really is new territory for the former European Age-Group Triathlon Champion, who was rightly thrilled to be running side-by-side with Daniela Ryf starting the half marathon.

While Morrison, as expected, lost time to Ryf during the run, it certainly wasn’t a ‘fly and die’ bike effort. Still a work in progress, she was sticking to her plan and still in a podium position for much of the half marathon. Ryf ran a solid 1:20:22 to take the win, with the Aussie pairing of Salthouse and Sarah Crowley completing the podium.

The real mover on the course was Great Britain’s Emma Pallant. Off the bike in tenth, her race best 1:18:21 split would see her move through the field to fourth. Morrison (1:31:10 would take eighth, with Lucy Charles (1:26:03) completing the top ten around a minute and a half later.

Win in Dubai. Happy to fly again after a tough week. 😊😬

A photo posted by Daniela Ryf (@danielaryf) on

All-in-all, plenty of positives for all three of the British athletes to take away from their 2017 debuts, in what was a deep and competitive field.

Speaking to BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team media after the race, Emma Pallant commented:

“I am happy with my race and my 4th place finish. After missing the bike pack, I had to tough it out today and try to stay in contention on the bike to finish with a strong run. We worked hard over the last few weeks to optimize my nutrition plan and it worked so well today. So there are lots of positives to take out of today’s race.”

Javier Gomez runs to victory

As he did in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships last year, Josh Amberger (AUS) built a 30 second cushion through the opening 1.9km swim, and then set about maintaining/building that on the bike. He, along with Tyler Butterfield (BER), Martin Jensen (DEN), Tim O’Donnell (USA) and Manuel Kueng (SUI) would reach T2 within 30 seconds of each other, with Gomez a further two minutes back.

The five-time ITU World Champion is a true all-rounder though with a brilliant run, and a 1:10:44 split would see him cruise past everyone else and add yet another victory to his extensive CV. Amberger was rewarded for his bravery with second, while Ruedi Wild (SUI), another who made significant moves on the run, took third.


British Age-Group success

  • Benjamin Lovell – 3rd, 18-24 – 4:29:28
  • Brian Fogerty – 1st, 30-34 – 4:04:01
  • Andy Edwards – 3rd, 40-44 – 4:17:58
  • Simon Wood – 1st, 45-49 – 4:18:37
  • Des McManus – 2nd, 45-49 – 4:19:13
  • Pete Eggleston – 3rd, 45-49 – 4:20:36
  • Sam Westhead – 1st, 50-54 – 4:21:34
  • Henry Clark – 1st, 55-59 – 4:45:55
  • Evan Davies – 2nd, 55-59 – 4:47:15
  • Aimeee Wright – 1st, 25-29 – 5:15:12
  • Sarah Nicholas – 3rd, 25-29 – 5:29:16
  • Kirsten Cameron – 1st, 35-39 – 4:37:35
  • Lucy Woollacott – 2nd, 35-39 – 4:38:08
  • Annie Crookes – 1st, 40-44 – 4:50:08
  • Louise Parr – 2nd, 40-44 – 4:54:16
  • Rosie Guy – 3rd, 40-44 – 5:00:03

IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai, Friday 27th January 2019
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

1stJavier Gomez (ESP) 3:42:21Daniela Ryf (SUI) 4:01:40
2ndJosh Amberger (AUS) 3:44:38Ellie Salthouse (AUS) 4:04:05
3rdRuedi Wild (SUI) 3:44:59Sarah Crowley (AUS) 4:06:23
4thTyler Butterfield (BER) 3:45:10Emma Pallant (GBR) 4:07:05
5thDavid Plese (SVN) 3:46:04Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) 4:07:40
6thJesper Svensson (SWE) 3:46:43Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:09:51
7thBertrand Billard (FRA) 3:46:45Kirralee Seidel (AUS) 4:11:46
8thTodd Skipworth (AUS) 3:46:52Kimberley Morrison (GBR) 4:12:25
9thTim O'Donnell (USA) 3:47:53Laura Philipp (GER) 4:12:31
10thJaroslav Kovacic (SVN) 3:48:06Lucy Charles (GBR) 4:14:05



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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