After a 2006 ITU World Championship, a $200,000 win at Hy-Vee in 2010 and a podium finish at Ironman 70.3 Worlds this year, Tim Don of Great Britain added another jewel to his résumé with a victory in his first Ironman attempt at Ironman Mallorca. After a race-long chase, Eimear Mullan of Ireland passed 44-year-old Dede Griesbauer 5 miles from the finish to win her 4th Ironman-distance victory on a tough day at the elegant Spanish resort island in the Mediterranean.
Don started his day with a 2nd-best 45:25 swim in the Mediterranean which put him 39 seconds back of swim leader Manuel Keung of Switzerland and ahead of a pack of nine men who clambered out of the sea within 14 seconds. Among the most dangerous were Bert Jammaer and Mike Aigroz (both 45:31) not to forget 2014 Challenge Roth winner Timo Bracht (48:06) two and a half minutes later.
At 84.5 meters through the bike leg, Keung held firmly to a 3:13 lead on a closely packed parade led by Niclas Bock, followed by Jammaer (+3:14), Bracht (+3:15), Miquel Blanchart tintó (+3:16) Karl-Johan Danielsson (+3:18). Aigroz (+3:19), Don (+3:20), Dominik Berger (+3:21) and Fabio Carvalho (+3:22). At a speed of 23 miles per hour, and if the timing splits were accurate, that would put each man in the chase pack after Bock 11 meters apart.
Kueng held on to his lead to the end of a race-best 4:48:20 bike split, followed by a fast closing Edo Van der Meer (+3:26), Aigroz (+3:28), Carvalho (+3:13), Don (+3:33 with a 4:51:21 split), Bracht (+7:28), Berger (+10:03) and a fading, off-form Jammaer (+12:34).
By 12.3 km Don caught Kueng and within 2 kilometers opened a 1:05 gap on Aigroz and Carvalho as Keung was falling back to an eventual 11th place finish with a 3:14:24 run. Like Keung, Bracht was no longer on his game and was falling back to a 13th with a 3:12:59 run
Halfway through the marathon, Don held a 2:01 margin on Carvalho, 2:16 on Aigroz, 4:41 on Keung and a 5:05 on a hard charging Miguel Angel Fidalgo who was working hard to close a 7 minute gap to Don at the start of the run thanks to a tardy 4:58:45 bike split.
By the finish, Don’s 3rd-fastest 2:52:07 run brought him to the finish in 8:34:02 with a 4:06 margin of victory over Fidalgo, who ran 2:49:01. Aigroz fell back with a 2:59:26 run but it was enough to hold 3rd, 6:27 back of Don and 51 seconds ahead of fast-closing Miquel Blanchart tintó, who posted the fastest run of the day – 2:47:30.
The win should put Don in fine position qualify for his anticipated Kona debut in 2015.
Mette Pettersen Moe of Norway led the swim in 49:52, followed by Dede Griesbauer (+18 seconds), Natascha Schmitt of Germany (+2:25) and top contenders Mullan (9th place +5:21), Astrid Ganzow of Germany (10th and +5:22) and Nina Kuhn of Germany (19th and +7:07).
By 84.5 km, Griesbauer led Pettersen Moe by 3 seconds, with Mullan and Ganzow 3:00 and 3:16 down. At T2, Griesbauer’s 2nd-best 5:11:15 bike split led Nina Kuhn by 31 seconds after the German’s race-best 5:04:52 bike split carved her way out of a 6:40 deficit after the swim. Pettersen Moe was 3rd (+1:06), Ganzow 4th (+6:23) and Mullan 5th after a 4th fastest 5:13:01 bike leg left her 6:41 arrears.
Griesbauer began the run with high hopes to improve on her recent 6th place finish at Ironman Lake Placid and perhaps add to her career total of two Ironman wins. Most of all, Griesbauer was showing her work with the Siri Lindley squad was erasing any doubts that her career was fading at age 44. In addition, this performance was a strong indication that the career-threatening crash at Ironman Frankfurt in 2010 was no longer a limiting factor for the woman who had three top 10 Kona finishes before her injury.
Pettersen Moe took the lead at 6.5km, 45 seconds ahead of Griesbauer, 4:24 ahead of Moe and 5:03 ahead of Ganzow. At 14 km, Pettersen Moe led Griesbauer by 50 seconds, Mullan by 2:47 and Ganzow by 4:13.
Just when Griesbauer might well have surrendered, she rallied to the front at 17km, 14 seconds ahead of Pettersen Moe and 1:23 ahead of Mullan. At the halfway point of the marathon, Griesbauer led Mullan by 1:18, with Pettersen Moe 1:23 arrears. By 33 km, Mullan led Griesbauer by a thread - 17 seconds – and Ganzow passed Peterson Moe for 3rd. At 35.5 kilometers, Griesbauer hung tough - 25 seconds down.
Finally, Mullan broke the string connecting her to Griesbauer and led by 2:27 with 2 miles to go. At the finish, Mullan’s race-best 3:10:26 on a sweltering hot day brought her to the finish in 9:24L17 with a 2:52 margin of victory over Griesbauer (3:19:40 run), 6:53 over 3rd place finisher Ganzow and 14:41 over 4th place Pettersen Moe. After her sizzling fast bike split, Kuhn had no more left in the tank and withdrew during the run.
The win comes after Mullan’s victory at the famously difficult Embrunman and adds to her excellent 2014 victories at UK 70.3, Challenge Rimini and a 2nd place finish at Challenge Fuerteventura.
September 27, 2014
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Tim Don (GBR) 8:34:02
2. Miguel Angel Fidalgo (ESP) 8:38:08
3. Mike Aigroz (SUI) 8:40:29
4. Miquel Blanchart tintó (ESP) 8:41:20
5. Carlos López Diaz (ESP) 8:45:09
6. Alejandro Santamaria (ESP) 8:49:34
7. Timothy Van Houten (BEL) 8:50:16
8. Stefan Van Thiel (NED) 8:50:45
9. Patrick Jaberg (SUI) 8:50:46
10. Carlos Aznar Gallego (ESP) 8:52:13
13. Timo Bracht (GER) 8:58:37
1. Eimear Mullan (IRL) 9:24:17
2. Dede Griesbauer (USA) 9:27:09
3. Astrid Ganzow (GER) 9:31:10
4. Mette Pettersen Moe (NOR) 9:38:58
5. Kamila Polak (AUT) 9:44:33
6. Corina Hengartner (SUI) 9:45:43 *F35-39
7. Maria Lemeseva (RUS) 9:45:56
8. Tine Holst (DEN) 9:47:03
9. Anna Halasz (HUN) 9:49:24
10. Bianca Steurer (AUT) 9:54:46