IRONMAN New Zealand, voted the world’s favourite IRONMAN race by athletes, saw an exciting men’s race dominated by local Kiwi athletes. Trizone recaps the exciting IRONMAN NZ Men’s race from last weekend.
Kiwis dominate the podium in 2017
Brendan Currie, who lives in the mountains of Wanaka, New Zealand, used his mountain racing experience to take him to the top of the podium last weekend. Currie had won the infamously gruelling Coast to Coast just a few weeks earlier, showing his endurance fitness was clearly at the its peak for last weekend’s race.
Currie’s win upset the status quo though, as he hadn’t even been tipped to make the podium, and fellow Kiwi Terrenzo Bozzone didn’t get quite the result he’d hoped for.
IRONMAN NZ 2017 Swim
As predicted, the men’s swim was lightning fast, dominated by strong swimmers Clayton Fettell, Graham O’Grady, Terenzo Bozzone and Marko Albert, with Currie motoring along with them. “I just managed to sit on [Terenzo’s] feet [during the swim], blowing some bubbles,” Currie told stuff.co.nz.
The wind was exceptionally strong making the swim noticeably difficult, even for 13-time IRONMAN NZ title winner Cameron Brown. “Today… that wind was bloody hard. It felt like you were swimming 5km rather than 3.8km, probably the hardest swim we’ve had here in 19 years,” Brown said.
IRONMAN NZ 2017 Bike
The bike was where everything changed though. Thanks to his active life in Wanaka, one of the world’s most beloved mountain biking regions, Braden Currie dug deep and powered up the huge mountainous climbs. “I got on that bike and hit the climb and obviously my mountain biking background came too and I managed to, I didn’t even want to, but managed to pull away by myself,” Currie told stuff.co.nz.
After a powerful year in 2016, local Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone lived up to his reputation as a strong cyclist and caught Currie on the flat. The two maintained a fierce pace, until another devastating uphill slowed Bozzone’s lead, and allowed Currie to catch up and narrow the gap.
“It didn’t take too much longer once we hit the flats for [Terenzo] to peg me back, and he pulls up besides me and says, ‘you think this is a one lap race, mate’. But then he took off, so I don’t know what he was thinking. I didn’t have any game plan after that,” said Currie.
IRONMAN NZ 2017 Run
Behind the two leaders, defending champion Cameron Brown had paced himself to perfection, and at 33km he overtook Marko Albert to find himself in second place in the run. Bozzone had exhausted himself in the bike, and was overtaken by Brown with just 13km to go. Cyril Viennot overtook Bozzone too, while Marko Albert of Estonia maintained a solid fourth position.
Kiwi Braden Currie was able to maintain his lead, finishing in a breakneck time of 8:20:58, fellow Kiwi Cameron Brown finished in 8:24:32 and Frenchman Cyril Viennot finished third in 8:25:43.
“The bike was extremely tough. I thought, that’s it, I’m going to retire after this, I’m too old now. We were 14 minutes down, and, yeah. But I never gave up, gave it all I’ve got but it wasn’t quite enough,” said Brown.