Germany’s Mika Noodt – who is only 21 years old – was a complete surprise at today’s Ironman 70.3 Les Sables d’Olonne. The short-distance triathlete put together a strong performance and eventually lifted the tape in the men’s race (3:47:14). Behind him, Rodolphe von Berg (USA) took second (+2:28) and Yvan Jarrige (FRA) finished third (+4:17). The women’s race saw another German on top of the podium as Anne Reischmann claimed the win. She needed 4:21:23 to stay ahead of Julie Lemmolo (FRA) and Charlene Clavel (FRA) who took second (+1:45) and third (+1:54).
Right from the swim Von Berg and Noodt were battling side by side. Von Berg was just ahead of Noodt when he reached his bike in first place after clocking a swim of 25:03. Once in the saddle, he quickly increased his advantage, leaving Noodt far behind. By around 70 km Noodt was 1:22 down on Von Berg and no longer in second place, as Belgium’s Bart Aernouts – a big mover on the bike – overtook him. Because of a terrible crash, though, Aernouts wasn’t able to maintain this chasing position. As a result, Noodt moved back to second, overtaking Aernouts. At the start of the run, it was Von Berg who was in the lead, while Noodt racked his bike 53 seconds later and Aernouts found himself in third p lace in T2 (+1:51).
It didn’t take long before Noodt started to close the gap to Von Berg. By 2.5 km Von Berg’s advantage had already shrunk to 27 seconds. After five km, it was done for the American, as Noodt took over the lead. A similar thing happened in the fight for third place, as Aernouts saw Jarrige pass by at this point. Although the finish line was still 15 km away, nothing changed for the podium positions as Noodt surprised with a strong win, Von Berg took second and Jarrige completed the podium.
Exiting the water in seventh place, Reischmann had work to do on the bike to close the 3:34 gap to race leader Lemmolo. The French athlete had the fastest swim, 27:10. She was 1:36 minutes in front of the second woman – Alexia Bailly (FRA) – after the first discipline.
On the bike, it was Clavel who moved up in the ranking. She came out of T1 in fourth place, but eventually managed to get to the front of the field. A little group of three athletes was formed in the front, just before the second transition as Lemmolo, Clavel and Reischmann got ready for the run at the same time. Bailly reached T2 only five seconds behind them.
On the run, Reischmann was clearly stronger than her competitors. After five km she had created a gap of 30 seconds, which she extended during the rest of the half-marathon. She eventually took the win in 4:21:23. Lemmolo took silver and the bronze medal went to Clavel.