Ironman Switzerland couldn’t have asked for a better winner, given the fact that both champions are Swiss: we’re talking about Jan van Berkel and Daniela Ryf. Especially on the run, Van Berkel was on fire today, clocking a time of 2:37:42 over 42 km. On the other hand, Ryf could take it easy during this final discipline, as she had a big lead coming off the bike.
Starting with a short swim, it was Germany’s Andreas Jung leading the men out of the water after 38 minutes. Eight men followed right in his slipstream, and while some swapped positions later, not much changed while on the bike. A front group of nine athletes took shape while in the saddle and, as they seemed to work well, the pace was high. Not high enough for France’s William Mennesson, though. Mennesson took off after approximately 140 km of cycling and managed to create a gap of two minutes to his chasers.
On the run, that gap soon disappeared. After fifteen km, Van Berkel and Skipper flew past him, taking first and second place respectively. While Skipper was able to stay close to Van Berkel for a long time, with ten km to go, Van Berkel really broke free. No wonder, as the Swiss’ athlete ran to the win with a marathon time of 2:37:42 hour. Skipper finished in second place only 1:25 minute later. Swiss’ Ruedi Wild – who also caught up with Mennesson in the final stretch of the marathon – took third (+9:53). Mennesson settled for the “chocolate medal”, as he crossed the line in fourth place.
With Ryf on the start list, it’s usually quite easy to predict the winner in the women’s race, and today that was no different. Even though Ryf usually has a relatively weak swim, she was in the lead from start to finish. After a swim part of 39:45 minutes, she got onto the bike in first place with a gap of four minutes to the second lady: America’s Kayla Kobelin.
Only once on the bike, Ryf really attacked. Noting a bike split of 4:43:44 hour, she managed to create a buffer of 30 minutes for the marathon. She didn’t seem to feel like using that buffer to her full advantage, as Ryf continued to extend her lead while running. Running 3:05:09 she got to the finish line in first place with a gap of 36 minutes to the silver medalist: fellow Swiss’ Petra Eggenschwiller. The final podium spot was taken by Germany’s Kristin Liepold (+37:48).