Magnus Ditlev strikes with impressive PTO T100 victory

Magnus Ditlev wins PTO T100 Miami (Picture: Triathlon Today)

After a stunning battle – decided in the final kilometers – Magnus Ditlev has just won the PTO T100 in Miami. There was hard racing and athletes had to dig deep to get the most out of themselves, which ultimately resulted in a wonderful battle.

In a pretty hot and also very windy Miami, it was Frenchman Sam Laidlow who initially took the lead during the swim. His pace was very high and he took with him Aaron Royle, Rico Bogen, Alistair Brownlee, Ben Kanute, Daniel Baekkegard, Jason West, Mathis Margirier, Gregory Barnaby, Menno Koolhaas and Youri Keulen, forming a big leading group.

During the second half of the two-kilometer swim, Laidlow dropped back a bit and left the initiative to Bogen, who came out of the water in first position after 23:30 minutes. The reigning 70.3 World Champion was pushing hard, yet the lead group was still completely intact at the swim exit. Biggest absentee was Magnus Ditlev: the Dane who was considered as one of the biggest favorites came out of the water just under a minute behind. American Sam Long suffered even more and came out of the water almost 3:30 minutes behind.

On the bike, a wonderful power play immediately ensued and initially it was two men who took off together. Frenchman Margirier took the initiative and got Brownlee, neatly at the permitted distance, in his wheel. Behind the race leaders, the other men began to lose time not quickly, but definitely. Bogen, Royle and Keulen were riding in positions three, four and five and were twenty seconds behind after 15 kilometers. Another twenty seconds behind them Laidlow, Barnaby, Kanute and Baekkegard followed within top ten position. Koolhaas, meanwhile, had dropped to tenth place and had a one minute deficit.

Halfway through the bike leg, a number of things stood out, but mostly that Margirier and Brownlee were cycling particularly strongly and, for the time being, were not giving the men behind them a chance to get any closer. No wonder, with speeds regularly exceeding 50+ kilometers per hour. Meanwhile, Ditlev had ridden up from behind and climbed to third position, but that was still a minute behind the two leaders. Also riding with Ditlev was Laidlow, while Bogen and Keulen were still keeping up with him as well. The Dutchman did seem to be struggling from this point on, as he began to lose the connection and second by second he lost his grip on the group he was first part of.

During the second half of the bike leg there were still plenty of interesting developments, the most appealing of which was the advance of Ditlev and Laidlow. Slowly but surely, the two athletes rode to the front of the race and with about seven kilometers to go, they caught up with Margirier and Brownlee, creating a four-man breakaway. These four men also eventually came back into T2 at the same time, and in the process they had built up quite a lead over the next men: Bogen returned after 2:16 minutes, Baekkegard after 2:23 and Keulen in seventh position after 2:25 minutes. Sam Long had gained many positions and returned eighth in T2 (+3:04) and Rudy von Berg, also advanced, was ninth (+3:49). Koolhaas was tenth when he entered the transition area and was 4:32 minutes behind.

Fastest transition was for Laidlow, yet Brownlee took over the lead in the race after only a few hundred meters of running. In the first kilometers, the Brit ran impressively and saw his lead quickly increase to nearly a minute. Behind him, Laidlow, Ditlev and Margirier continued to run close together, keeping the battle for the podium particularly exciting.

What followed was a ‘sufferfest’ for many of theathletes: Baekkegard lost time and positions and Sam Laidlow also had to suffer. That meant good news for the two Dutchmen, because with eight kilometers to go, Keulen moved up to a fourth place, although he was being chased by Sam Long, who was only ten seconds behind him in fifth position. Dutch Koolhaas, meanwhile, had advanced to sixth place, while Brownlee still led the race, followed forty seconds by Ditlev and 1:06 minute by Margirier.

With six kilometers to go, Brownlee appeared to have peaked a little too early, as he began to lose momentum due to the heat and had to watch Ditlev catch up and take over the lead. Brownlee tried to catch up, succeeded for two hundred meters, but then wasn’t able anymore to keep up. Meanwhile, Long had passed Keulen and with that, positions four and five had also changed.

While Ditlev was able to run relatively unchallenged to victory in the final kilometers, Long accelerated just one more time and caught up with both Margirier and also Brownlee, so the American ran to second position. Brownlee at the same time broke down completely and in turn was also overtaken by Margirier, leaving him outside the podium in the closing stages. Keulen also passed him, leading the Dutchman to a spectacular fourth place finish.

Ditlev won the race – and with it $25,000 – in 3:09:08 and Sam Long was second in 3:09:43. Margirier complemented the podium by finishing third in 3:10:08.