Melbourne, Australia (October 10, 2013) â€“ World Champion Melissa Hauschildt capped off a stunning year when she successfully defended her title at IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah in Western Australia today.
Meanwhile New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone, runner-up in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, dominated the men’s race which doubled as the official Australian Professional Championships.
The pair chalked up their 22nd podium finish from 24 starts between them in 2013, which has proved a stellar season for both triathlon stars.
Hauschildt scored her seventh victory of the year after bridging up to and breaking clear of swim leaders Radka Vodickova (CZE) and Asia Pacific champion Annabel Luxford (AUS) on the bike.
She took a one minute lead on to the 21.1km run, her strongest discipline. From there it was one-way traffic for the brilliant Brisbane athlete who won in 4:03.45 with Luxford three minutes behind in second, with Vodickova a further three minutes adrift to repeat her third placing from last year.
Today’s triumph brought Hauschildt’s record to nine this year, along with two seconds and one third, with victories at the IRONMAN 70.3 Worlds, ITU Long Distance Worlds, long distance efforts at Abu Dhabi and Koh Samui and 70.3 triumphs at Timberman, Boulder, Augusta, Geelong and today in the heat at Mandurah.
â€œI always like to chase the championship races, which is why I came here. It’s the end of my season so I am a bit tired but I always want to get the championship races,â€ Hauschildt said.
â€œThis is only my second race that I’ve done in Australia this year â€“ I don’t get to do many here. It’s great to have so many people out there calling my name, it’s awesome.
â€œI had an awesome swim today, less than two minutes behind which is the best I have ever done in the swim. I caught up on the bike at 25kms, sat in for 25km and then took off. It was really good the first half of the run and then it got really hot.â€
Luxford capped off a fine transition year from Olympic distance to endurance, which started with the Asia Pacific Championship title in Auckland in January and finished with second placing in the Australian Championships behind a world champion.
â€œI am happy with that. Mel did a fantastic job. She is a great athlete. I was happy to finish second. It was one of those days I found harder than I would have liked but I was pleased that I was able to get the best out of myself.â€
Bozzone, 28, was first out of the water, riding in a lead group of seven, which dropped to six by the end of the bike, where double Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt also fell out of contention with a drafting penalty.
The Kiwi pushed hard from the start of the 21.1km run, opening up a 30 second advantage after 6km from Greg Bennett and 50 seconds to defending champion Tim Berkel. The lead grew to 90 seconds at the half way mark with Berkel up to second from Jeremy Jurkioewicz (FRA).
Bennett ran out of legs by the 10km mark and decided to call it a day.
Bozzone was never threatened to win in 3:42.58 with Berkel an impressive 90 seconds back and compatriot Sam Appleton running through in the heat for third a further 30 seconds back.
Bozzone, who had 22 months off the podium fighting a series of injuries, scored his fourth win for the season and 10th podium from 11 starts, highlighted by his runner-up in Las Vegas and the ITU Long Distance Worlds. He will complete his season with IRONMAN 70.3 Shepparton in Victoria next weekend.
â€œThis is one of the most prestigious titles I’ve had in a few years. It’s the Australian Pro Championships, so I not sure as a Kiwi if I get it but I will have the bragging rights with all my Australian buddies,â€ Bozzone said.
â€œThere were a few guys I was watching out for today. I put a bit of a move on in the bike to keep the pressure on and take some of the legs out of the quicker runners.
â€œI went out really strong on the first lap of the run. I like getting a lead to give you a bit more adrenalin. With the final turn I knew I had a 90 second advantage. It is not often you have that sort of lead so I was able to enjoy the last few kms and all the spectators and volunteers helped bring me home.
Just over 2000 athletes took to the course today to take on their own challenge in another successful edition of the IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah event another successful
In further good news for triathlon in Western Australia, the SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia event took out top honours in the Major Festival & Events category in a gala evening at the Perth Airport Western Australian Tourism Awards. Ironman Asia Pacific CEO, Geoff Meyer was on hand to accept the award.
“It’s an honour to win the award for Major Festival and Events for the 2012 SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia event. The event has such a rich history in WA. I would like to say a special thank you to the local organising committee in Busselton who work so hard and a special thanks to our event partners, Eventscorp, SunSmart and Healthways.
The event is now a finalist in the Australian awards announced on February 7 in Sydney.