Most weren’t surprised to see race-favorite Ellie Salthouse take the win at Ironman 70.3 Andorra, but there was a bit of a surprise in the men’s race with Clément Mignon leading across the line at the tough, and slow, course.
Mignon started his race energetically, conceding just thirty seconds during the swim to the fastest swimmer of the day, Michele Sarzilla. Etienne Diemunsch and David McNamee were also ahead of Mignon, who came out of the water with Filipe Azevedo.
There was a lot of back and forth on the bike as Cameron Wurf – who always rides strong – made his presence felt. He rode away from everyone and opened up a lead of over two minutes on Mignon, who was the only athlete able to stay “close.”
During the run, Mignon managed to turn the race around and, after about 14 km he passed Wurf and continued to pull away from the Australian to finish in 4:22:56 with a 1:51 lead on Sarzilla, who had passed Wurf in the final kilometers, who finished third, 2:57 minutes behind the winner.
Women’s race: Salthouse from the gun
In the women’s race, Salthouse came out of the water first with Emma Bilham just under a minute behind, followed by Els Visser (NED).
What followed was a bike leg that was dominated by Salthouse from start to finish. Bilham was the next-best athlete on the bike, but still lost 2:28 over the 90 km ride. Behind her Svenja Thoes started the half marathon in third, but was more than five minutes behind Salthouse.
The half marathon was uneventful until the closing stages. While it was clear that Salthouse would win – she maintained her lead throughout – Thoes passed Bilham in the last few kilometers. Salthouse won the race in 5:10:01, Thoes came second in 5:12:47 and Bilham took third in 5:13:41.