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Viennot wins, Clarke second at IRONMAN UK 2017

The champion three years ago, France's Cyril Viennot returned to Bolton to claim his second IRONMAN UK title ahead of Great Britain's Will Clarke

Chief Correspondent
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A second title for Cyril Viennot who adds another Bolton victory to his 2014 win

Will Clarke battles to second place with a late catch of defending champion, Kirill Kotsegarov

(Separate report(s) coming soon on some fantastic Age-Group performances)


The race began with the always reliable Harry Wiltshire setting the swim pace and reaching T1 first, but in the close company of the BMX-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team pairing of Romain Guillaume (FRA) and Will Clarke (GBR); a great start to the day for the Will. 2014 IRONMAN UK winner (and 2015 ITU Long Distance World Champion), Cyril Viennot (FRA) was just over a minute back at this early stage.

One man who wasn’t having a good day (see more below), was Fraser Cartmell. Three-times a podium finisher in Bolton, Cartmell was almost five minutes in arrears after the swim – something that, I doubt, has ever happened in his career. Kudos to him for toughing it out on what was clearly a difficult day.

Guillaume set the pace in the early part of the ride, but Viennot was on a charge and would soon race the front of the race and then push on alone. With 100km completed he had built a six minute lead over Will Clarke, nine minutes over a fast-riding Bryan McCrystal (IRL) and twelve and a half over defending champion, Kirill Kotsegarov (EST). Guillaume was now out of the race, while Wiltshire (see below), while still riding, would be facing a DQ in T2…

Viennot continued his charge to T2, which he would reach with an 8:21 buffer over Clarke, 11:12 over McCrystal and 11:55 over Kotsegarov. This would change significantly before the run start however, with Clarke having to serve a five minute penalty in T2, meaning the Frenchman would start the marathon over 11 minutes clear, and Clarke entering T2 in second but leaving in fourth.

BOLTON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Will Clarke of Britain competes in the run section of Ironman UK on July 16, 2017 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman)
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman

Kotsegarov and Clarke would soon move past McCrystal into second and third positions, and while they were gaining a few seconds on Viennot, the biggest battle was between themselves. Separated by just 1:45 at 11km, 1:13 at 20km and 1:20 at 33km, could Clarke close the gap? With 4km to go Will had pushed again to get within 40 seconds, but this was proving to be a tough one to crack. “I had a real hard battle… there were numerous times when I wasn’t making inroads… my best kilometre split was my second to last one, 3:24, and I managed to come away with second. It was an amazing feeling, a completely savage course.”

Viennot was the worthy winner however and could enjoy his final kilometres and a second IRONMAN victory – both of them in Bolton.

BOLTON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Cyril Viennot of France competes in the run section of Ironman UK on July 16, 2017 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman)
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman

“The fact that it’s so hard is what makes this race special. The bike is slow and hilly, but the support is good. On the main hill on the bike you have guys who dress in [fancy dress costumes], it’s about 10 degrees outside and cloudy but the guys are here, shouting. It’s incredible and a wonderful atmosphere,” added Viennot.

A tough day for 2010 champion, Fraser Cartmell:

A ‘littering’ DQ for Harry Wiltshire:

IRONMAN UK, Bolton – Sunday 17th July 2017
3.8km / 180km / 42.2 km

PRO Men Results

1st – Cyril Viennot (FRA) – 8:41:07
2nd – Will Clarke (GBR) – 8:47:03
3rd – Kirill Kotsegarov (EST) – 8:48:16
4th – Bryan McCrystal (IRL) – 9:10:31
5th – Nicholas Ward Munoz (GBR) – 9:16:52
6th – Pedro Gomes (GBR) – 9:25:44
7th – Fraser Cartmell (GBR) – 9:33:49

BOLTON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Cyril Viennot of France (C) celebrates winning Ironman UK with Will Clarke of Britain (L) second and Kotsegarov Kirill of Estonia (R) third on July 16, 2017 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman)
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman
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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