Both Rico Bogen and Laura Philipp had to fight until the very last meters to secure their victory, but both German athletes just celebrated a beautiful victory at Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau.
In the women’s race, it was Lucy Charles – who had apparently solved her problems with the Brexit rules – who led the swim and was the first to head for her bike: she landed after 24:19 minutes and then Laura Philipp and Ellie Salthouse, the eventual numbers two and three, were in third and fourth place: Salthouse was 1:41 minute behind and Philipp 2:50 minutes.
On the bike, the throttle opened for Philipp and Salthouse: Philipp in particular was going like a madman and very soon caught up with Salthouse. Not much later, well before the half of the bike leg, Lucy Charles was also seen and Philipp took over the lead in the race. It was somewhat striking to see Daniela Bleymehl ride strongly to the front and join Philipp and Salthouse, thus creating a leading trio, but perhaps even more so that Charles began to lose quite a bit of time. Once back in T2, the British athlete was looking at a deficit of almost three minutes and with that she had slipped to seventh position.
During the run, Bleymehl had nothing to contend with against Philipp and Salthouse, who immediately took off in pairs. Halfway through, the two women were still running together, but in the meantime Charles had also moved up to third place. This went so fast that the British rider was only 38 seconds behind the two leaders. Reason enough for Philipp to speed up once again and as a result she ran away from Salthouse. For a moment Charles, who passed Salthouse, came closer, but Philipp had a good answer, parried the attack and eventually won the race in 4:15:27. Charles was second in 4:16:11 and Salthouse third in 4:16:20.
In the men’s race, Lukasz Wojt came out of the water first: he swam 22:16 minutes and was then forty seconds ahead of Rico Bogen. In turn, Bogen led a large group that included Andrea Salvisberg, Jan Stratmann, Patrick Lange and several other Germans.
Wojt quickly fell away on the bike and then three frontrunners finally remained: Stratmann, Bogen and Gregor Schreiner. The German trio rode well together and saw their lead increase over the rest of the field. Once back in T2, Salvisberg followed in fourth, but his gap on the leaders was then 2:27 minutes. Patrick Lange followed in sixth at 2:51 minutes.
During the run, it quickly became apparent that Bogen had the best running legs: he took the lead in the race and would not relinquish it. Meanwhile, Lange and Salvisberg kept advancing to the front, eventually ending up on the podium.
Bogen won the race in 3:49:51. Patrick Lange came even closer to victory, finishing second in 3:50:45. Salvisberg finished third in 3:51:11.