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IRONMAN Switzerland results 2023: Jan van Berkel completes the fairytale

A fairytale finish for Jan van Berkel

Staff Reporter
Last updated -
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Swiss legend Jan van Berkel produced a fairytale end to his career as he won his fourth IRONMAN Switzerland title in front of an adoring home crowd in Thun on Sunday.

Second and third at his last two full-distance races in Cozumel and New Zealand, the 37-year-old – cheered on by friend and five-time IRONMAN World Champion Daniela Ryf – was able to cap off a career that has spanned over a decade with an immense performance.

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Swim – Horsfall-Turner leads the way

Out of the water in Switzerland, there was a familiar sight with Andrew Horsfall-Turner at the front of the race. The Welshman was the first of a small group of six who had managed to stay together through the swim.

Brothers Andreas and Florian Salvisberg were next out, just a matter of seconds off the front, with German duo Maurice Claver and Ruben Zepunkte joined a little further back by Denmark’s Mathias Petersen, the recent winner of IRONMAN Austria.

Further down the field, home favourite van Berkel, competing in his swan song on familiar territory, came out of the water in 10th, around two minutes down on the leaders and with a lot of work to do to get himself back up to the front.

Bike – Zepunkte makes his move

Out on the bike, the group of leaders seemed content to roll through the opening kilometres together, before German Zepunkte decided to put his foot down and open up almost a 1:30 gap on the rest of the field in a space of around 15 kilometres by the 50km mark.

Keeping his head down, Zepunkte had close to six minutes on the chase pack by the 100km mark, with the Salvisberg brothers, Petersen, Clavel and Horsfall-Turner slowly being reeled in by van Berkel – who had worked his way through the field.

By 123km, Nick Thompson of Australia, Samuel Hurzeler of Switzerland, Leonard Arnold of Germany and van Berkel had all bridged up to the chasers, with Zepunkte up the road and a group of nine now trying to narrow the deficit.

Intro transition, Zepuntke had close to a 10-minute buffer, as all but one of the chasers made it into transition together, with Horsfall-Turner dropping off and Swede Rasmus Svenningsson putting himself in podium contention after a conservative first half to the bike.

Run – van Berkel completes the fairytale

Out on the run course, the home athletes quickly got to work, with Andreas Salvisberg the first to ramp up the pace as the chasers quickly began to whittle down Zepunkte’s lead.

Arnold of Germany, along with van Berkel and Salvisberg, had closed the gap down to a couple of minutes by the 19km mark and Arnold was the first to make contact with the long-time leader, as he passed his compatriot to take the lead by the 23.5km mark.

After making the pass, Arnold forged on as Zepunkte quickly went backwards, with half the field passing the über bike between 25-30km, as van Berkel caught Arnold at 31.3km, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Jan Van Berkel IRONMAN Switzerland 2023
Photo by Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images for IRONMAN

Over the final 10km, van Berkel opened up a comfortable gap to Arnold as the Swiss athlete took his fourth win on his home course, with Arnold rewarded for his earlier tenacity with a brilliant second place finish on his debut. In third,

IRONMAN Switzerland 2023 results

  • 1. Jan van Berkel (SUI) – 8:05:02
  • 2. Leonard Arnold (GER) – 8:07:14
  • 3. Andreas Salvisberg (SUI) – 8:10:25
  • 4. Samuel Hurzeler (SUI) – 8:12:31
  • 5. Jon Sæverås Breivold (NOR) – 8:13:43
IRONMAN Switzerland 2023 Men Podium
Photo by Jasmin Walter/Getty Images for IRONMAN
Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.

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