For the sixth year in a row, an Australian takes the IRONMAN World Championship presented by MyList.
By Kevin Mackinnon
Earlier this week Chris McCormack was asked how much longer he’d continue to compete as a professional.
“Until the younger guys retire me,” he said.
Today one of his countrymen might have just taken care of that for him. as he kept the IRONMAN World Championship title in Australian hands for the sixth straight year.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in,” said Pete Jacobs of winning the IRONMAN World Championship and keeping the title in Australian hands for the sixth straight year. “The guys who have won before me I look up to as idols and almost inhuman. Crowie (Craig Alexaander, who has won three titles to go along with McCormack’s two over the last six years) performs here every year – this is the first year he had a bad one. I was confident that if I had a good day, I could win. I ended up having a great day.”
A great day it was. Jacobs continued the tradition that Alexander set last year, staying in the front few athletes from virtually start to finish on a day that featured some of the toughest conditions seen for the IRONMAN World Championship for years.
After Andy Potts led the way out of the water, the early stages of the bike ride looked more like a short course race than an IRONMAN. Defending men’s champion Alexander seemed determined to push the pace, turning the tables on his rival McCormack, who suddenly found himself isolated and chasing the lead group. McCormack would eventually pull out, while Alexander found himself struggling to stay with the lead group and barely finishing in the top-20 at the end of the bike. (The classy three-time champ eventually ran his way to 12th)
By the time the race reached the climb to Hawi, the winds started to really pick up and the men we considered most likely to push the pace on the bike were at the front – Marino Vanhoenacker and Sebastian Kienle led the way, steadily gaining ground on the rest of the field – just as they did earlier this year in Germany at the Frankfurter Sparkasse IRONMAN European Championship.
On the way down the hill from Hawi, though, things went awry for Kienle, who got a flat tire. While he had a spare, he couldn’t get the valve extender off the tube, so he had to wait for tech support to help change the tire. Once they did he was back on the road, but had lost almost five minutes.
That left Vanhoenacker on his own to finish the ride along the Queen K, which he did in impressive style. Vanhoenacker finished the ride 8:28 ahead of Jacobs, who put together an incredible ride to lead the rest of the men in the chase of Vanhoenacker. Not typically known as a great cyclist, Jacobs was doing his best Alexander imitation, finishing the bike ahead of men considered amongst the best in the sport on two wheels: Frederik Van Lierde, Dirk Bockel, Faris Al-Sultan, Romain Guillaume and Kienle. (Last year Alexander improved his bike split by a whopping 13 minutes to take the title here in Kona.)
Out on the run Vanhoenacker looked like he might just hold his lead to a first title here in Kona. After losing about 15 seconds a mile for almost the first 10 miles, things started to come undone for the Belgian. By 16 miles, Vanhoenacker had been passed by the fast-moving Jacobs. A few miles later Vanhoenacker would pull off the course at an aid station and eventually live up to his pre-race prediction: he would either win the race or be hauled off in an ambulance. It wasn’t quite that dire, but he did end up taking a medical vehicle back to Kailua-Kona.
Which left Jacobs in the position of just needing to hang on for his first world championship title. As he ran his way back up from the Energy Lab towards the Queen K for the epic last seven miles of running, a classy Alexander ran across the road, gave him a high five, and told him to “relax, relax, relax.”
Behind Jacobs, Andreas Raelert was putting together the fastest run of the day, getting over a disappointing start to once again put himself in contention for the win. While he couldn’t catch Jacobs, he did manage to run himself into second, only to suddenly find himself in a head-to-head battle with Van Lierde over the last mile.
Suddenly finding himself behind the Belgian with a mile to go, Raelert remembered the day two years ago when he lost this world title to McCormack. Once again he was passed on the fateful downhill about a mile away from the finish, but this time he responded. After falling 10 seconds behind, he surged passed Van Lierde and held on for his second runner-up finish here in Kona.
Van Lierde would hang on for third, followed by Kienle and then Al-Sultan, who was a popular addition to the top-five.
Men's top 10:
1 8:12:18 3 Pete Jacobs Sydney NSW AUS
2 8:17:49 16 Frederik Van Lierde Menen BEL
3 8:17:53 2 Andreas Raelert Rostock GER
4 8:19:58 6 Sebastian Kienle Hohenklingen GER
5 8:21:21 15 Faris Al-Sultan Al-Ain ABU ARE
6 8:24:36 8 Timo Bracht Eberbach GER
7 8:25:09 51 Andy Potts Colorado Springs CO USA
8 8:26:46 40 Timothy O'Donnel Boulder CO USA
9 8:27:51 27 David Dellow Mooloolaba QLD AUS
10 8:30:23 18 Dirk Bockel Munsbach LUX
You can follow our full day of coverage of the IRONMAN World Championship presented by MyList here.
You can reach Kevin Mackinnon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally from: http://ironman.com/events/ironman/worldchampionship/pete-jacobs-keeps-the-ironman-world-championship-in-australia?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ironman%2Ftopstories+%28Ironman.com+Top+Stories%29#ixzz29LW0YaLK