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IRONMAN New Zealand: Mike Phillips, Jocelyn McAuley take victory

There were plenty of course records and exceptional performance in Taupo for the 35th edition on IRONMAN New Zealand - but no luck for the defending champions

Chief Correspondent
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Phillips runs down Starykowicz for first IRONMAN victory

McAuley breaks course record for second Taupo triumph

Despite a bike mechanical, a crash and starting the run more than 17 minutes in arrears of the power cycling performance of Andrew Starykowicz, Kiwi Mike Phillips won his home IRONMAN New Zealand by taking the lead with less than two miles remaining, finishing with a fantastic marathon of 2:40:05. Fantastic races from both athletes, to leave no less that Kona 2018 fifth place finisher, Braden Currie, completing the podium in third. The top three were separated by less than four minutes in highly competitive racing.

Kudos the USA’s Andrew Starykowicz for his efforts in Taupo. While he’s a truly exceptional triathlon cyclist, he’s also a very good triathlete – his 4:12:08 bike split was around 20 minutes quicker than Phillips and Currie, with only Matt Burton (AUS), getting anywhere remotely close, with a 4:25:23 split. It’s a triathlon, not a bike race… but in adding a 3:00:16 marathon, this was far from a ‘fly and die’ from Starky. You play do you strengths, he did that and did it well – and it took an exceptional run from Phillips to catch him late on. Of course, both bike (Starykowicz) and run (Phillips) splits were new course records.

First (2017) and third (2018) over the past two years, the USA’s Jocelyn McAuley returned to the top step of the Taupo podium, courtesy of a fastest bike / fastest run combination. She finished with a 2:58:07 marathon and a new IRONMAN New Zealand course record, beating the 2016 figures of Meredith Kessler (8:56:08), for only second Sub-9 hour female finish in the 35 year history of the race, the oldest IRONMAN outside of Hawaii.

It would prove to be a frustrating day for Great Britain’s Laura Siddall, the defending IRONMAN New Zealand Champion. After an out-of-sorts third a couple of weeks back at Challenge Wanaka, fourth in Taupo was certainly not what she hoped for and would have believed she was capable of, that hurt magnified by those being two of her favourite races in a country she has and does spend so much time in as a ‘global’ triathlete. Once again, a class response, no excuses – but plenty of frustrations – from an athlete that exudes professionalism and, I’ve no doubt, will be back on top form later in the 2019 season.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuhAI3PD-t2/

Even less luck for defending men’s champion Terenzo Bozzone, who after starting the run in close contention with eventual winner Phillips, had to succumb to an injury picked up a couple of weeks ago and withdraw after lap one of the three loop run course.

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

IRONMAN New Zealand, Taupo – Saturday 2nd March 2019
3.8km / 180km / 42.2km

PRO MEN

1st – Mike Phillips (NZL) – 8:05:09
2nd – Andrew Starykowicz (USA) – 8:07:33
3rd – Braden Currie (NZL) – 8:09:05
4th – Matt Burton (AUS) – 8:12:36
5th – Tim Reed (AUS) – 8:22:13

https://www.instagram.com/p/Buf3cCgjsJ7/

PRO WOMEN

1st – Jocelyn McAuley (USA) – 8:53:11
2nd – Teresa Adam (NZL) – 9:05:33
3rd – Meredith Kessler (USA) – 9:12:04
4th – Laura Siddall (GBR) – 9:19:38
5th – Rebecca Clarke (NZL) – 9:32:14

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bug9GagDEoY/

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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