Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae ran herself into the history books here in Roth to claim victory on debut.
The Kona world champion showed she is a class act, again producing her trademark run leg reeling in all in front and storming to a â€˜rookie’ Challenge Roth win.
In claiming the inaugural title she also posted the fourth fastest ever time (8.38.53) to beat the UK’s Rachel Joyce and Caroline Steffen (SUI).
“I’m speechless, you guys are such a great crowd. Thanks to all the people who come out to show their support,â€ said Carfrae.
â€œI’ve heard so much about the race hard not to get wound up in the emotion, the last 1km the crowds were amazing and felt myself getting emotional. I felt like I was going to cry,â€ said Carfrae.
Carfrae was 3mins down after the swim as the defending Champion Steffen led them out followed by Michelle Vesterby (DEN), Julia Gajer (GER), Rachel Joyce (GBR) and Rebekah Keat (AUS).
In the early stages the women were splintered as Steffen poured on the pace and cleared out with Beranek following closely. Joyce and Vesterby trailed by 4mins with Gajer a further minute behind.
Trailing after the swim Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) worked hard to put herself in contention and at the 120km mark had moved into fourth place, Carfrae was now five minutes behind the leaders while Vesterby and Gajer couldn’t maintain the pace and slipped out of the lead group.
Joyce decided she didn’t want to hang around and had put over a minute into the chasers by the 150km point. Steffen was still in second and van Vlerken holding down third but over 5mins behind. Riesler was still in contention and Carfrae now 6mins 46sec in arrears.
At the final changeover and with the first three women on course Joyce led by 4mins 32secs to Steffen with van Vlerken a further minute behind. Carfrae meant business and immediately started reducing the gap.
As the pace and heat took it’s toll on Steffen, Carfrae ran herself into third ahead of van Vlerken and had her sights set on Steffen.
Eventually she overtook the â€˜Swiss Miss’ and had just one to catch. It came at the 28km mark when Carfrae finally passed Joyce and continued to extend her lead as she eventually crossed the line with another lightening fast run split to win on debut.
â€œI really enjoy racing Rinnie and Caroline but you know you are going to have to dig really deep on those days,â€ said Joyce.
â€œI’d like to come back and win it again,â€ she said.
At the end of the day over 5,500 people from 62 countries had swum, cycled and run their way to the finish line to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of what is the world’s greatest triathlon spectacle.
Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshofer was one of those who took part to honour this great race that his father began.
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