There was no stopping Daniela Ryf at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship as she flew away from the competitive field on the bike and stayed clear on the run to take a fifth Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice.
September 7, 2019 | NEWS|
Yesterday we asked if anyone could beat Daniela Ryf in Nice. We kind of knew the answer heading into today's race, but in case there was any doubt, the Swiss star who had an even four and four Kona and 70.3 world titles on her resume leading into today made it an uneven five and four by the finish.
It's not that it was easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but Ryf sure makes it look that way. The day began with Lucy Charles-Barclay charging to the front of the swim, with countrywoman Holly Lawrence fighting hard to get on her feet. Charles-Barclay would have none of that, though, and eventually pulled clear of the rest of the women, enjoying a one-minute lead as she exited the beautiful blue waters of the Cote d'Azur and started out on the bike.
Brazil's Pamella Oliveira and Lawrence led the chase pack that was a minute behind that included Ryf, Ellie Salthouse (AUS), Haley Chura (USA), Paula Findlay (CAN), India Lee (GBR), Kinsey Laine (USA) and Radka Kahlefeldt (CZE), which set up a big group to start chasing Charles-Barclay onto the challenging bike course. By the 10 km time check Charles-Barclay's lead was down to 27 seconds as Ryf powered the chase, but by the end of the first series of climbs it was Lawrence who was up front and pushing the pace, with Ryf, Charles, Imogen Simmonds (SUI), Amelia Rose Watkinson (NZL) and Findlay in close pursuit. Watkinson had a bit of a flyer off the front, but wasn't able to stay clear.
Somewhere on the climb Charles-Barclay was given a drafting penalty, which seemed a bit of a stretch considering the women were all climbing and she was one of the more aggressive riders, which immediately changed the dynamics of the race.
Once at the top of the Col de Vence, Ryf made her move and immediately started to pull away from the rest of the women. Charles-Barclay spent five minutes in a penalty tent at the top of the climb and things really started to break up in the rest of the group. Through 61 km Ryf was 1:20 up on Lawrence and Simmonds, 1:38 up on Watkinson and over five minutes ahead of a group that included Findlay and Charles. Ryf flew through the long, technical descent that in many ways defines this course, opening up even more time on the women chasing behind and, basically, the day was done.
By the time the Swiss champ hit T2, her lead was 2:34 on Simmonds and Lawrence, with Watkinson at 4:17 and Charles at 7:10. Through the early stages of the run Lawrence gained a bit of time on Ryf, but any hope of a new leader ended quickly as Ryf started to pull clear by the halfway point of the run, then steadily pulled away from Lawrence to eventually cross the line almost four minutes up. Simmonds hung tough for third, just over five-minutes behind, while Chelsea Sodaro used the day's fastest run to take fourth. Charles finished in fifth - if you take five minutes off her time she would have ended up second.
"I'm happy with the performance today," Ryf said of her day. "The bike was tough - the dynamics of the girls race was amazing. - I only had two minutes off the bike, so I had to show a good run."
Ryf did more than just "show" a good run - she once again proved that when it comes to long distance Ironman racing, when she is on the start line, she remains the woman to beat.
Ironman 70.3 World Championship | Pro Women
September 7, 2019 | Nice, France
1.9 km Swim
90 km Bike
21.1 km Run