Van Lierde and Bartlett wonderful at wind-swept Ironman Lanzarote

Frederik Van Lierde took his ninth Ironman title, while Nikki Bartlett finally captured her first Ironman win at one of the toughest days Ironman Lanzarote has ever seen.

| May 25, 2019 | NEWS

Frederik Van Lierde celebrates an impressive win at Ironman Lanzarote.

Frederik Van Lierde celebrates an impressive win at Ironman Lanzarote.

Photo >James Mitchell/ Darren Wheeler

Renowned as the world's toughest Ironman, the 28th running of Ironman Lanzarote more than lived up to that moniker. In a race where "normal limits to not apply" ... they didn't. The weakest the wind got at the race start and finish in Puerto del Carmen? 32 km/ hour. That was the slightest breeze. Out on the course? Multiply that number by two to four times.

All week long athletes have been hearing from the locals and experienced participants of this iconic race that started in 1992 that the conditions would be amongst the toughest ever seen on this spectacular Canary Island which is 130 km off the coast of Africa. They weren't lying.

The world champ follows through

Since he won the Ironman World Championship in 2013, Frederik Van Lierde hasn't ever been able to arrive at a race without the expectation that he would be going for the win. After three years of tough days in Kona, Van Lierde isn't sure he wants to give the world championships another shot, but he is determined to get the most out of his final two years of professional racing. When he saw that there would be an extra week between Ironman Lanzarote and Ironman Nice, where he's going after a sixth title next month, he figured he would go for the double.

The other thing about being a world champ? Everyone else in the race has nothing to lose - Van Lierde is supposed to beat them. In other words, no one hands the race over.

Van Lierde figured that one out in a hurry. After three years of dealing with injuries that kept him out of full-distance racing, Germany's Andreas Raelert made his comeback in style, leading the men out of the water with Ironman rookie Emilio Aguayo on his feet. Raelert held the world-best full-distance time for many years - the guy can swim, bike and run - and quickly pulled away from the rest of the men's field early in the bike as they flew through the initial stages of the ride. Raelert opened up a gap of about 90 seconds through the opening stages of the ride, only to hand most of that back when he had to stop on the side of the road to fix his derailleur. By 60 km into the ride the German had some company at the front of the race in the form of Van Lierde, with countryaman Christian Kramer hanging tough in third and Slovenia's Jaroslav Kovacic also staying in the mix. Kovacic made a strong push to the front heading up the first of the big mountain climbs on this challenging course, but Raelert rallied to lead the way up to the top of Mirador del Rio, the second big climb, but Van Lierde and Kovacic were close behind.

Raelert would only last another 25 km near the front as cramps would eventually force him out of the race. By then, though, Kramer was starting to make his move and he joined Van Lierde and Kovacic at the front of the race. Those three would arrive in T2 together.

Kramer ripped through his transition, opened up a bit of a gap, and then expanded his lead on Van Lierde thorugh the first 10 km of the marathon. You don't win a world title and eight Ironman races without being able to stay calm as your competition tries to press you, and Van Lierde simply executed a perfect run plan. He kept Kramer in sight and patiently took his time before making a move just before the first turnaround of the run at 21 km. Van Lierde upped his tempo, and simply glided away from the German. From there Van Lierde just got into his usual compact, efficient running rhythm and never looked back.

Kramer simply couldn't match that tempo and had to settle with his second runner-up finish here in Lanzarote. The other one? 2015, the last time we saw conditions close to this tough. Spain's Emilio Aguayo thrilled the Canarian crowd with his third-place finish in his long-distance debut, a result that was even more impressive considering he rode the final 8 km descent back to T2 on a flat tire.

Bartlett executes a perfect race plan

Canada's Rachel McBride led the way out of the water, an impressive result since she only had the stitches in her elbow (required after a bike crash in France two weeks ago) removed just a few days before the race. Just under a minute behind her was the ageless American Dede Griesbauer, with Denmark's Maja Stage Nielsen another 24 seconds back. Right on Stage Nielsen's feet was Emma Pallant, with the UK's Nikki Bartlett in seventh place, five minutes down.

Once out on the bike McBride quickly lost time to the rest of the women - because of the elbow issues she wasn't able to ride a tri bike and she lost time in the initial tailwind sections of the course. Pallant quickly moved to the front and appeared to be ready to finally show the long-distance form that triathlon fans are confident she has. Then Bartlett made her move. Through 60 km the former national-team rower started to open up some time on Pallant and Stage Nielsen. The gap kept growing - by the time they reached the second of the two major mountain climbs up Mirador del Rio, Bartlett was two minutes up on Pallant and almost four minutes ahead of Stage Nielsen.

By the end of the bike Bartlett was well clear. Pallant dropped out of the race due to cramps, which put Stage Nielsen in second entering T2,  but the former golf pro who saw her first triathlon here at Ironman Lanzarote when she had to work the event as part of Club La Santa's "Green Team," was over eight-minutes down.

Stage Nielsen was able to drop the gap to 5:29 by 10 km into the marathon, but at that point Bartlett dug deep and started to hold off the Dane's surges. At the halfway point of the marathon Bartlett had gained time on Stage Nielsen and held her own through the rest of the marathon to take her first Ironman title. In the end the Brit would finish 4:31 ahead of Stage Nielsen, while the Netherlands' Lenny Ramsey would run her way to third.

 

Nikki Bartlett, Maja Stage Nielsen and Lenny Ramsey celebrate their podium finishes at Ironman Lanzarote.

Nikki Bartlett, Maja Stage Nielsen and Lenny Ramsey celebrate their podium finishes at Ironman Lanzarote.

Photo >James Mitchell/ Darren Wheeler

Ironman Lanzarote | Men

May 25, 2019 | Lanzarote, Spain

Name

Country

Overall

3.8 km Swim

180 km Bike

42.2 km Run

1

Frederik Van Lierde

BEL

8:51:16

50:25

5:01:32

2:53:23

2

Christian Kramer

GER

8:56:16

50:25

5:02:08

2:58:21

3

Emilio Aguayo

ESP

9:00:55

49:15

5:05:27

3:00:07

4

Morten Brammer Olesen

DEN

9:05:12

52:40

5:13:09

2:53:11

5

Diego Van Looy

BEL

9:07:43

59:38

5:15:17

2:46:29

Swipe me

Ironman Lanzarote | Women

May 25, 2019 | Lanzarote, Spain

Name

Country

Overall

3.8 km Swim

180 km Bike

42.2 km Run

1

Nikki Bartlett

GBR

9:59:10

58:35

5:38:00

3:14:52

2

Maja Stage Nielsen

DEN

10:03:41

54:55

5:50:03

3:12:51

3

Lenny Ramsey

NDL

10:10:48

1:05:14

5:57:45

2:58:59

4

Jenny Schulz

GER

10:12:40

1:02:01

5:55:05

3:07:51

5

Asa Lundström

SWE

10:19:13

59:38

5:54:52

3:18:36

Swipe me