Justus Nieschlag and Mathis Margirier battle for win IM 70.3 Lanzarote, victory for Nieschlag

Justus Nieschlag wins IM 70.3 Lanzarote (Archive picture: Insta Nieschlag)

It was exciting for a very long time, but the win at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote has just finally gone to German Justus Nieschlag. After battling with Frenchman Mathis Margirier in particular for a long time, the German proved to be just a bit stronger during the run. The race was not decided until the last 300 meters, thus culminating in a thriller finish.

Nieschlag immediately got off to a great start in what is well-known as a tough race, as with a time of 22:48 minutes he came out of the water first after his 1900 meters in the ocean. No fewer than eight men then followed within fourteen seconds, so you could speak of a large group leading the race. Margirier was in this leading group as well.

Yet this large group did not stay together for long, because on the bike – and that was expected with the tough course of IM 70.3 Lanzarote – significant differences arose immediately. Nieschlag rode away solo in the first kilometers and gained a lead of more than half a minute on Margirier, but not much later he saw the Frenchman returning and so the race was soon led by two athletes. Yet this situation did not last long either: after 58 kilometers, Dane Thor Bendix Madsen had also joined the leading group, as had German Rico Boegen. Meanwhile, at one and a half minutes behind, Daniel Baekkegard, Josh Lewis and Pieter Heemeryck were chasing.

In the last part of the bike, the situation remained largely unchanged: the leading foursome continued to ride at the front and did see their lead on Heemeryck and Baekkegard increase to almost 2:20 minutes. For his part, Lewis was unable to stay with Heemeryck and Baekkegard, still coming in seventh T2, but trailing the leaders by 3:20 minutes. 

During the run, Nieschlag quickly took the lead, but his lead did not grow beyond 35 seconds on Margirier. Halfway through the run that lead was still 35 seconds – all the other men were following by a larger margin – but from that point on Margirier started to run towards Nieschlag again. Successfully, because eventually they ran side by side again and went into the last three hundred meters together. Nieschlag stayed cool, however, and won the race thanks to a final push: after 3:54:57 he crossed the finish line, followed fifteen seconds by Margirier. Madsen eventually finished third in 3:56:51.