Andreas Raelert and Sandra Wallenhorst made sure that the Eurpean championship stayed in the hands of German athletes today thanks to two completely different race strategies: Raelert opened a huge lead off the bike to take his title, while Wallenhorst ran past Caroline Steffen to take the women’s race.
Raelert wins from the front
Andreas Raelert took a chance that eventually paid off with the biggest win of his career. While most would have considered a bold ride away from the rest of the stacked field assembled here in Frankfurt for the Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman European Championship suicidal, the 33-year-old Olympian decided to go for it, riding to an 11-minute lead and holding everyone off in the marathon for the win.
Playing catch up
Defending women’s champion Sandra Wallenhorst found herself playing catch up after the swim, made even more challenging for her because wetsuits weren’t allowed in the warm water of the Langener Waldsee. The woman she was trying to catch was Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen, who powered her way around the bike course here and enjoyed a six-minute lead over Wallenhorst starting the run.
The anticipated duel between Wallenhorst and Yvonne van Vlerken appeared to be ready to start as the two entered T2 within feet of each other, but Wallenhorst flew out onto the run course and stayed clear of the Dutchwoman for the entirety of the marathon.