Dubai: Anne Haug and Alistair Brownlee were the surprise champions at the fourth edition of the Ironman 70.3 Dubai triathlon held at the Jumeirah open beach area on Friday.
Participating in his first event following a reconstruction of his hamstring in August last year, Brownlee finished in a time of 3 hours, 35.30 minutes leaving the Swiss pairing of Sven Riederer and Ruedi Wild in second and third place respectively. Riederer, who won the bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, finished ahead of Wild with a time of 3:42.05.
Brownlee gave a masterclass as he emerged first from the water and then went about building a lead during the cycling stage. He reserved his best for the half-marathon and finished 6.32 minutes clear of Riderer.
In contrast, the women’s race had a surprise champion with the 35-year-old Anne Haug finishing the course in a time of 4 hours, 00.25 seconds leaving Sarah Lewis in second (4:05.19), while pre-race favourite Holly Lawrence completed the podium with a time of 4:07.36.
The men’s race was a masterclass from two-time Olympic gold medallist Brownlee as the 29-year-old came out first from the water and then went about building a lead during the cycling stage. The half marathon run was his strongest as Brownlee powered his way to finish 6.32 minutes clear of Riderer.
Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC), was accompanied by Saeed Hareb, the General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council, Nasser Al Rahma, the Assistant General Secretary of Dubai Sports Council, and Race Director Ahmad Al Haj at the presentation of medals at the end of the race.
Brownlee’s choice to have Dubai for his comeback paid dividends as no one would have thought that a victory could have been possible for the 2012 London Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiro champion after his surgery in August last year. “Perhaps no one would have thought I would have been on the podium after spending six months with an injury,” Brownlee said.
“I had a few ups and downs in the swim and then there was a bad patch in the cycling. But by the time I was on the run I was actually feeling good and strong. I was in control all along after that. A win is a win and it feels great to start off this comeback with such an emphatic one,” he added.
Much was expected from women’s pre-race favourite Lawrence. But the Australian could not sustain her pace during the run as Haug from Germany overtook her at the 14km second loop to keep Lewis in second while Lawrence could only finish in third.
“After winning the silver in Bahrain [at the end of last year] I knew I had to go all out while banking on my strength that lies on the running stage. I am pleased that I could win so convincingly while competing against such a quality field,” Haug said.
Men Top 10: 1. Alistair Brownlee — Great Britain (3:35.30); 2. Sven Riederer — Switzerland (3:42.05); 3. Ruedi Wild — Switzerland (3:42.42); 4. Maurice Clavel — Germany (3:43.38); 5. Nicholas Kastelein — Australia (3:44.19); 6. Ilia Prasolov — Russia (3:45.35); 7. Jesper Svensson — Sweden (3:45.41); 8. Ronnie Schildknecht — Switzerland (3:47.08); 9. Bertrand Billard — France (3:47.10); 10. Kevin Maurel — France (3:47.53).
Women Top 10: 1. Anne Haug (4 hours, 00.25 secs); 2. Sarah Lewis (4:05.19); 3. Holly Lawrence (4:07.36); 4. Ellie Salthouse (4:11.11); 5. Agnieszka Jerzyk (4:15.16); 6. Kimberley Morrison (4:16.20); 7. Nikki Bartlett (4:20.19); 8. Asa Lundstrom (4:23.18); 9. Minna Koistinen (4:24.28); 10. Annah Watkinson (4:31.53).