Melissa Hauschildt of Australia has won back her Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas today. A 29:19 swim saw Hauschildt leave the water 3:20 down on fellow Aussie Annabel Luxford and defending champion Leanda Cave. Whilst not quite the swim she would have liked, the Aussie wasted no time in chasing down the leaders.
Hauschildt won her first title in 2011, but was unsuccessful in defending her title in 2012 battling injury and illness during race week. This year she has held back on her run training with the objective of arriving here this weekend injury free. The strategy appears to have worked, having run away from her competition in possibly the hottest field to ever contest the 70.3 World Championship.
The day began with Annabel Luxford of Australia leading the professional women out of the water in 25:59, with defending champion Leanda Cave (GBR) hot on her heels. Also amongst this lead group was Tenille Hoogland (CAN), Laura Bennett (USA) and Kelly Williamson (USA). Heather Jackson (USA) was another big mover on the bike, having swum a 30:08 to bike and run her way into a second place finish.
Hauschildt rode to a smoking 2:25:08 for the fastest female bike split of the day, despite a crash in the closing kilometers. The wet roads may have played a part, with Mel going down hard and landing on her hip. The Aussie showed just how tough she is, jumping straight back up and rejoining the lead group of Annabel Luxford, Lisa Norden and Svenja Bazlen. Running into transition two in the lead, Hauschildt then ran away with the race to finish in 4:20:07.
Heather Jackson rode and ran her way through the field to finish in second place, having moved up one position each year. If this pattern is anything to go by, Heather would have to be a favourite to contend for the 2014 World Title in Mont Tremblant.
Annabel Luxford held on for third place, crossing the line and being taken off to the medical tent. The temperatures may not have been as hot in Las Vegas today, but the humidity was up around 91% and Luxford gave everything she had to hold onto her second place. The ever improving Jackson was just too fast on the day, with Luxford losing her runners up position in the closing kilometers.
Catriona Morrison made a spectacular return from injury, having missed the entire 2012 season to run through the field and finish fourth today. Morrison’s run of 1:21:49 was second only to Hauschildt’s 1:21:37, an impressive display from an athlete returning from double Achilles surgery and a complete season on the side lines.
Germany’s Svenja Bazlen swam and rode with the leaders, faltering only upon reaching the run and fading back into fifth position. Bazlen has had a terrific season having finished second at Ironman 70.3 St George US Championship and third at the Hy-Vee Triathlon last weekend.
Professional Female Final Results
Professional female swim times
Professional Female Bike Times
Professional female run times