Scenic venues and quality racing featured in Europe over the weekend. Germany’s Laura Philipp reminded us how good she is with an imposing win against a good field at Mallorca. In France it was a welcome return to the half-distance for Emma Bilham when she claimed Ironman 70.3 Pays d’Aix.
Text By Laura Siddall and Rob Sheeley | Images By Getty Images
Philipp Too Good In Mallorca
Text By Laura Siddall
German 70.3 specialist, Laura Philipp is making a name for herself as one of the best in the world over the distance by taking the win at Ironman 70.3 Mallorca at the weekend.
Philipp, who was seventh at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Australia last year, tends to go under the radar on the world scene, even though she has racked up an impressive string of wins and podiums. This result should add to that resume and put her as one of the strong contenders for the World 70.3 Championships this year.
The BMC Etixx duo of Emma Pallant and Amelia Watkinson finished second and third on the podium respectively.
London Olympic Silver medalist, Lisa Norden led out the swim, in her first 70.3 distance race since 2013. Fellow Swede Annie Thoren was just under 30-seconds back from Norden and then a chase pack of five women, led by Laura Philipp and including Amelia Watkinson and Emma Pallant another 40-seconds behind.
Unfortunately a rear flat tire, on exiting Transition, soon halted Norden’s progression as she had to return to transition and she lost time changing the wheel. (Norden still went on to finish the race.)
Philipp soon took charge on the bike closely followed by Watkinson, but an “overestimation in her ability” (in her words) caused Watkinson to crash on one of the descents, meaning she lost time. She was unhurt and despite damage to the bike, she held onto second place coming into T2.
Philipp’s fastest bike split ensured she started the run with almost a three and a half minute lead over Watkinson. Pallant started the run in third a further three and a half minutes back.
Pallant recently won Challenge Gran Canaria with a sizzling run, and only a week earlier won the Olympic Distance Triathlon in Colonia San Jordi (Mallorca). It was another fastest run split (1.20.09) that saw Pallant catch her team mate Watkinson by half way on the run, moving into second. But the gap to Philipp was just too much, Philipp taking the win in 4.21.41, Pallant the silver (4.26.51) and Watkinson in third (4.33.03)
Daniela Ryf and Diana Riesler did not start.
Ironman 70.3 Mallorca 2017 Results
Balham Back To Her Best At Pays d’Aix
Text By Rob Sheeley
Switzerland’s Emma Bilham returned to half-distance racing with a bang on Sunday when she won Ironman 70.3 Pays d’Aix.
The diminutive 30-year-old took the victory by just over two minutes from Poland’s Maria Czesnik with Brit Natalie Seymour a further three minutes away in third place.
Bilham found the front of the field early, leading the swim narrowly from Czesnik with Manon Genet over a minute back in third place.
Bilham held the lead on the bike for the first 30km of the bike before Czesnik took the ascendency, eventually riding to a lead of around the one-minute mark at T2.
It would be the run that decided the outcome of the race, with Bilham applying the afterburners en route to a second-fastest 1:21:52 half-marathon, which sealed her victory.
Czesnik was resolute in second place, but was unable to match the speed of the one known as “little cabbage”.
Seymour produced a consistent performance across the board to hold third place in a solid effort.
Bilham proved again that she is world class when it comes to half-distance racing. She will now head back to the full-distance with Ironman Nice on her radar.
Ironman 70.3 Pays d’Aix 2017 Results