He was already seen as the big favorite, but of course that was something Sam Long had to prove today at Ironman 70.3 Pucon. After the swim, the American pro athlete was far behind the fastest athletes and had to chase, but early on in the bike leg Long turned the gap into a lead and won by a wide margin.
Of course it was no big surprise that Long came out of the water lagging behind, because he is not known for his strong swim and is actually always behind. Yet every race it remains to be seen how big the gap is and today the difference with the fastest swimmer – Chilean Vicente Trewhela, who left the water after 24:22 minutes – was 3:33 minutes. That put Long in ninth position, so there was more than enough work to do in the battle for the win.
On the bike, however, Long’s turbo began to rev up considerably and after thirty kilometers he had already made up more than a minute and a half of his deficit. Halfway through the bike leg, Long had even advanced to second place and Trewhela was only sixteen seconds ahead of him. From then on things went fast, as Long took the lead in the second half of the bike leg and saw his lead increase to several minutes. When Long returned into T2, his bike computer showed an average speed of just under 45 kilometers per hour. His fastest competitors, who started entering T2 with a 4:30 minute gap, were also riding fast, but were not coming close to Long, with averages of around 41 kilometers per hour.
What followed, then, was a half marathon that didn’t really get exciting anywhere. Long managed to maintain his lead relatively easily and eventually won Ironman 70.3 Pucon in 3:46:31. During the run, Martin Ulloa actually ran in second position the whole time, but in the last kilometers he was still overtaken by Luciano Taccone. Thus, Taccone finished second in 3:53:11 and Ulloa third in 3:53:40.