Ballarat, Victoria (Sunday,16 November 2014) - Michael Raelert will leave Australia with two extra pieces of carry-on luggage after victory in the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Ballarat today following his win at IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah last week.
There was plenty of support for Ballarat local Jamie Huggett who shared second with veteran Luke Bell after a ruling by the Race Director.
Bell was sent the wrong way on the run course and after examination of the timing data, which showed he and Huggett would have entered the finish chute at the same time, officials ruled that the pair would share second placing.
In the women’s race Canadian Melanie McQuaid , who missed Mandurah last weekend due to illness, produced a wire-to-wire victory to outlast South Australia’s Madeleine Oldfield in second and German Mareen Hufe in third.
After exiting the swim within seconds of each other, Bell and Raelert averaged over 42km/h for the 90km bike leg and by the 73km mark were over six minutes ahead of Jamie Huggett in third.
Raelert stepped up the pace to open a buffer of two minutes on Bell over the final 15kms on the bike, while the Victorian remained five minutes in front of Huggett.
The German star showed why he’s a two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion by powering away on the 21.1km run to win by nine minutes.
“That was a tough day, the wind was difficult on the bike, and we had quite a head wind on the run,” Raelert said.
After a knee injury ruined his 2013 season and a bike crash stalled the beginning of this year, Raelert has roared back to top form with IRONMAN 70.3 wins at Reugen in Germany, Miami in USA and now in Mandurah and Ballarat.
“I am very happy with my form right now. To win four in a row was great and I would love to come back and defend my titles next year,” he said.
Raelert praised the Ballarat locals who came out in droves to support the race.
“It was a cold day, I would have rather been in a coffee shop or bakery than watching a race, but the people out were fantastic, they make it easier for us to race.”
In was a similar story in the women's race where McQuaid was too strong over all three disciplines taking the win by just under eight minutes.
After missing IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah with a chest infection last week, she thought her Australian trip was doomed when she arrived race morning to find her bike had a mechanical issue. However than was quickly fixed and her day ran like clockwork.
“I am so happy to win, I really have to thank the mechanics who fixed my bike, I owe the people of Ballarat for this win, they have been really good to me,” she said.
McQuaid, a three-time Xterra World Champion, was full of praise for the first time event.
“The course was awesome; the bike was technical which suited me, and the run course was fantastic with all the amazing support from the locals,” she said.
1. Michael Raelert (GER) 3:48:33
2. Jamie Huggett (AUS) 3:57:33
2. Luke Bell (AUS) 3:57:33
4. Josh Rix (AUS) 4:04:41
5. Luke Whitmore (AUS) 4:08:54
1. Melanie McQuaid (CAN) 4:19:40
2. Madeleine Oldfield (AUS) 4:27:14
3. Mareen Hufe (GER) 4:29:47
4. Jessica Mitchell (AUS) 4:30:04
5. Kristy Hallett (AUS) 4:43:14
Text and images courtesy Ironman.com
For information on Ironman 70.3 Ballarat see http://www.ironman.com