Swiss superstar Caroline Steffen produced a dominate performance to claim a wire to wire victory at today's SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3® Mandurah triathlon while France's Denis Chevrot continued his winning ways in Western Australia.
Chevrot's performance provided the perfect warm-up to his title defence at SunSmart IRONMAN® Western Australia in Busselton in four weeks.
"I'm happy to win, but I didn't expect that today. I really hope I can do the same thing again in four weeks in Busselton," he said. "While each race is different, it does give me confidence for Busselton."
Unbeaten over the IRONMAN 70.3 distance this year, the win was Steffen's fifth in a row, with Yvonne Van Vlerken second and Great Britain's Laura Siddall rounding out the podium.
"I'm glad to come back here this year and get the win," she said. "I had a perfect day today, that doesn't happen very often."
Chevrot was made to work for his victory by young Australian professional Jake Montgomery who produced the race of his short career to hold on for second with 2013 champion Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) in third.
It was Montgomery, from Scarborough in NSW, who set the early pace leading Chevrot out of the water by 37 seconds, closely followed by a second group that included pre-race favourite Bozzone and Luke Bell.
Montgomery put the hammer down early on the bike and by 45km his lead over Bell and fellow Australian Casey Munro was 1:50, with Bozzone and Chevrot almost three minutes back.
Holding onto the lead over his more fancied rivals Montgomery entered T2 with a 3:25 gap to Bozzone with Chevrot 5:27 back in third, after a stint in the penalty box saw Bell drop from second to eighth and over nine minutes off the lead.
Montgomery, who has just made the switch from short course racing to IRONMAN 70.3, held onto the lead until the 16km mark when Chevrot overtook him. From there the Frenchman extended his lead taking the win by over a minute.
"Jake had a great race, I had to work very hard to catch him. It was a great performance," Chevrot said.
For Montgomery, it was the biggest day in his short career, and a sign of things to come.
"I was confident in the swim and felt good on the bike. I was trying to hold a bit back, but my lead just kept growing," he said. "I was pretty tired getting off the bike, and when Dennis passed me I just didn't have anything left. I'm pretty happy with second, it was great to get my first podium."
In the women's race Steffen stamped her authority on the race early exiting the water closely followed by Alise Farrelly and local professional Katey Gibb, with Van Vlerken 2:40 back.
By half way on the bike Steffen led Gibb by 2:56 and Van Vlerken by 3:32, with the lead ballooning to over four minutes to Van Vlerken and over six to Great Britain's Laura Siddall in third by the end of the 90km journey.
Steffen continued to gap the field on the run to win by over five minutes, notching up the 20thIRONMAN 70.3 title of her career.
In the age group race former West Coast Eagles premiership player Beau Waters finished fifth in the 25-29 age group, and 40th overall.
SunSmart IRONMAN 70.3 Mandurah results.
1. Denis Chevrot (FRA) 3:45:39
2. Jake Montgomery (AUS) 3:46:33
3. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:47:26
1. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:04:50
2. Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 4:10:14
3. Laura Siddall (GBR) 4:12:19
Courtesy: Ironman AP
Images: Delly Carr/ Ironman