Thanks to an impressive run, passing seven athletes after T2, Britain’s George Goodwin just claimed the win at the Ironman European Championship 70.3 in Elsinore. Rodolphe von Berg (USA) and Jan Stratmann (GER) completed the podium. It was New Zealand’s Kyle Smith who spent most of the day in the lead, but lost the lead in the final four kilometers. He eventually finished in fifth place.
Smith who was first to get out of his wetsuit and hop on his bike in 21:55. However, ten athletes followed were right on his feet, which created a big front pack. Smith could have found himself a comfortable spot in this group, but instead, he decided to put the hammer down and push hard. That resulted in him quickly riding off on his own. About halfway through the bike course he had a 1:20-minute advantage on the chase pack, which still contained about ten athletes, including: Magnus Ditlev (DEN), von Berg, Filipe Azevedo (POR), Jesper Svensson (SWE), Statmann, Michael Raelert (GER) and Mattia Ceccarelli (ITA).
By the time T2 came into sight, Smith had managed to widen his gap to two minutes. It was Stratmann, Von Berg and Ditlev who were the first men to rack their bike and get ready to chase Smith down. Stratmann, who ran the second-fastest split in the first 5 km, soon showed that he hadn’t killed his legs on the bike and had something left for the half-marathon. Goodwin started the run in eighth place, but quickly moved up in the ranking.
It took three of the fastest runners in the field – Stratmann, Goodwin and Von Berg – less than 10 km to bring Smith’s gap down to about one minute. Slowly, Smith started to lose grip on his long-time lead. Goodwin continued passing athletes until he reached Smith and took over the lead at 17 km. It didn’t stop there for Smith, because Von Berg and Stratmann – among others – formed the next threat. With the finish line in sight, both men passed Smith. It resulted in Goodwin taking home the European Championship title, Von Berg claiming second place, Stratmann taking third and leaving Smith to take fifth, falling short of the podium after being in the lead for most of the day.