The third edition of Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg takes place in the stunning eastern wine region, Mosel. The course is situated in the heart of Europe and offers regionally based athletes a chance to open up their legs to test their mid-season form before the regional Ironman championship event.
The race begins at 1PM local time with an in-water, one-loop swim in the Mosel River. Competitors should expect a marginal current during their 1.2-mile swim, but with two-turnaround buoys, any time banked should be offset.The one-loop 56-mile bike course takes athletes through the Luxembourg countryside and local vineyards of Remich. The course features some short but punchy climbs that take place from miles 20-40. With over 2600 feet of ascent, don’t expect blazing-fast times. Athletes will end their afternoon with a flat and fast four lap 13.1 mile run through the town of Remich. With temperatures forecasted to top out at just 63° F, expect fast run splits. Professionals will be competing for $15,000 in this P-500 points event.
Swiss athlete and 70.3 Switzerland runner-up, Manuel Kueng, led the 20 professional men the entire swim and was first out of the water in a swift 21:31. The Mosel River’s current certainly didn’t slow his chasers, as a large second group was just 20 seconds back. Pre-race favorite, Andreas Raelert, was in that second pack.
Kueng was the first athlete to leave T2 as overcast conditions turned into sunny skies. Bas Diederen, Anrdeas Raelert and Denis Chevrot followed closely as they left T2. However, Kueng was clearly the strongest rider on the day. He powered his way along the Mosel River solo before approaching the hilly vineyards. Through 25 miles Kueng had a three-minute advantage on his chasers. At 40 miles, Raelert slipped into second behind Kueng who was five minutes down the road. A nice group formed behind Raelert that included Patrick Lange and Marcus Herbst. Despite the strong group, Kueng continued to pull away and hit T2 first. Kueng’s race-best 2:08 bike-split bested his closest competitor by over four minutes.
Kueng stormed out of transition all alone but with Raelert lurking behind, he certainly couldn’t risk slowing down. Lange, Chevrot and Diederen chased the leader together but were still four minutes down. Raelert left T2 over five minutes down but was determined to run through the field. After four miles Chevrot and Lange were 3:20 down and Raelert ran his way into fourth. Bas Diederen was running well and yo-yoing with Chevrot after holding off Raelert. Up the road, Kueng hit the ten-mile mark three minutes up on Chevrot, but it was Diederen, not Raelert, who was charging hard behind. At twelve miles Diederen had ran into second place, but Kueng still maintained a two-minute advantage. Kueng’s dominant bike performance was enough to secure the win and he crossed the line first in 3:49:35. Bas Diederen ran a race-best 1:13:44 to finish second. Chevrot hung onto fourth with pre-race favorite Raelert in fifth. According to IM Live Updates, Raelert battled cramps on the run. However, he may have backed off to nurse an achilles issue as he makes his final preparations for the Ironman European Championship.
|1. Manuel Kueng SUI||21:31||2:08:07||1:17:01||3:49:35||$3,000|
|2. Bas Diederen NED||21:52||2:12:42||1:13:44||3:51:03||$2,000|
|3. Denis Chevrot FRA||21:58||2:12:23||1:14:33||3:52:03||$1,250|
|4. Andreas Raelert GER||21:56||2:13:32||1:14:23||3:52:32||$750|
|5. Patrick Lange GER||21:53||2:12:37||1:16:02||
Ten female professionals started their afternoon five minutes after the men. Julia Gajer, one of the fastest German Ironman athletes of all time, pushed the pace early with fellow German, Natascha Schmitt. Gajer would eventually separate from her fellow countrywoman and exit the water with a 90 second advantage over Schmitt and three minutes on Belgian, Sofie Goos.
Gajer was the first athlete on the bike course with Schmitt just 90 seconds behind as they left transition. Sofie Goos immediately began to make up ground as she rode time into the leaders. At 25 miles, Gajer had a 90 second advantage on Schmitt and three minutes on Goos. By 40 miles into the women’s ride, Gajer’s lead grew to 2 minutes on Schmitt and another 90 seconds behind rode Goos. Alexandra Tondeur and Rahel Bellinga chased hard, but were more than six minutes back. Gajer continued to maintain her pace and was the first back to T2. She rode a race-best 2:27:09, which gave her a 2:30 lead on Schmitt and four minutes on Goos.
Gajer was the first female to start the flat, four loop run course. She was running well and gapped Schmitt by an additional 30 seconds by the three-mile mark. Behind Gajer and Schmitt, Goos was falling off pace but still running comfortably in third. At nine miles, Gajer had a 4:30 advantage on Schmitt and was clearly in control. The fast German hit the finish line first in 4:17:25. Her Frankfurt-fitness was on full display as she posted the fastest swim, bike and run split. Schmitt ran well to finish second three minutes down, with Sofie Goos in third another four minutes back.
|1. Julia Gajer GER||23:50||2:27:09||1:23:12||4:17:25||$3,000|
|2. Natscha Schmitt GER||24:59||2:28:46||1:23:58||4:20:40||$2,000|
|3. Sofie Goos BEL||26:45||2:28:41||1:26:33||4:24:46||$1,250|
|4. Alexandra Tondeur BEL||26:40||2:33:04||1:30:07||4:32:52||$750|
|5. Anna Halasz HUN||31:33||2:30:36||1:29:32||4:35:05||$500|