Joe Gambles posted a 1:14:27 half marathon to eventually overtake fellow Australian and Ironman Australia 2012 champion Paul Ambrose to claim the 2012 Ironman 70.3 Syracuse title. New Zealand’s Callum Millward took 3rd place with pre race favourite Pete Jacobs 4th.
Gambles had a one minute deficit in the swim to make up with Pete Jacobs, Graham O’Grady and Marko Albert leading the field out on to the bike. In all there were 6 Kiwis and Aussies in the top 11 with Josh Rix capping it off. Graham O’Grady was 6th overall with Josef Major from the US breaking the ANZACs grip on the race.
T.J. Tollakson was in the race at the end of the bike but a 1:24 run meant he drifted back through the field.
Joe Gambles has been a 70.3 specialist over recent years but the extra training miles he did earlier this year for Ironman Melbourne will be paying dividends now and now with his speed back to where it usually is he is a much more dangerous athlete. Gambles is planning a serious tilt at Kona this year and after Melbourne showed that he can be there after the bike and with more age, experience and miles the run will not be an issue. In saying that Gambles finished 8th in Melbourne with an 8:12 finish time.
Ambrose’s pace on the bike was known but still blew the other guys away. Gambles had his work cut out. “Paul rode like ten men! I tried to hold him but after 40k I had to let him go and hope that I could run well.”
Gambles runs was in a league of its own on the day though and run well he did. “I have been training with Lee Troop’s running squad in Boulder and its helped a lot! I haven’t been doing much specific Ironman training yet as Kona is still a way off.” Next for Gambles is Vineman 70.3 and he is hoping to build on this result and medal at the World 70.3 championship in Las Vegas. (Lee Troop – Marathon runner and 3 x Australian Olympian)
Paul Ambrose raced the way he knew he had to in order to beat the very fast runners Jacobs, Millward and Gambles. Gambles however was in a class of his own on the run with a four minute faster run split. Jacobs ran quicker than Ambrose and Millward but had given up too much time on the bike to reel in these class athletes. Ambrose put in his usual deadly bike split to be three minutes ahead of Gambles at T2. It took Gambles over 3/4 of the run to catch him.
Pete Jacobs result was not what he had planned. He said after the race that he felt flat from the Australia-USA trip earlier in the week. Based on the form we saw in Cairns recently he was not racing at 100%.
The Mark Allen coached Angela Naeth had to overcome a 3 1/2 minute swim deficit with Jodie Swallow. Swallow put in a very fast 24:38 to put the pressure on Naeth. Naeth excited T2 seconds ahead of Swallow and then showed that the extra speed she had to produce on the bike had not negative effect on her run post a time 2 1/2 minutes faster than Swallow.
Australia’s Nikki Butterfield, normally one of the strongest female cyclists around, road just over 4mins slower than Naeth and also couldn’t match the two women on the run. Butterfield is in the final stages of her preparation for Ironman Frankfurt in two weeks which puts her result today in to perspective.
Tim Reed raced well for a 3rd overall. Now with a young family Reed has extra incentive to excel in this years 5150 series and the Hy-Vee grand final. Last year he was struck down with a severe flu the week leading up to the race and all his dreams of a top ten finish and the pay cheque that goes with it.
Reed is racing well at the moment and is not suffering from the asthma that plagued his early US season last year.
After an extensive layoff from injury and a very gradual build back to racing Kiwi Anna Cleaver finally got to race again at the New Orleans 5150. This was a race for finding her feet again (and finding swim buoys as well) and working out how she is looking from a race pace point of view. Cleaver did not push the pace to aggressively and came through the race easily. A mistake in the swim saw Cleaver swim way off course (following
Flat, fast non-drafting is what Anna is suited to most. As one of the fastest female swimmers around she has been testing different race suits from a swim point of view and has signed a deal with Hincapie Sportswear to race in their one piece Tri suits so was keen to test the ‘new toys’.
Australian Michael Fox raced also. Fox is a great swimmer and along with James Hadley exited the water just behind Canada’s Jon Bird but well ahead of the majority of the field. Fox lost ground on the bike but held his own on the run and it loo
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