In cold and wet conditions Brad Kahlefeldt produced a trademark run to go one better than last year to win Flight Centre Active Travel IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns today.
Meanwhile New Zealand’s Candice Hammond capped off a stellar season to date with her first IRONMAN 70.3 win in the women’s race.
The men’s race a group of five athletes comprising defending champion Courtney Atkinson, Kahlefeldt, Clayton Fettell, Joey Lampe and Sam Appleton exited the water within seconds of each other.
In persistent rain the group of five were joined by Melbourne professional Tom Rodgers on the bike.
A puncture at the 48 km mark for Atkinson, ruined any chance Atkinson had of defending his title, left Kahlefeldt, Fettell, Tim Reed, Appleton, Sam Betten and Rodgers to fight it out on the run.
Kahlefeldt quickly stamped his authority on the race and finished with a 1:12:28 run leg to take the win, Reed ran strongly to take second, with Fettell rounding out the podium.
“I had some outstanding competition out there today and they really put it to me. This is a fast race and the boys swam and rode hard and I am very happy to come away with the win,” Kahlefeldt said.
“I just had to put my head down and go. It was non-stop adrenaline the whole way. It’s a very testing course here in Cairns and I knew that from last year. My bike has improved a lot and all credit to my training partners. I am absolutely rapt with the win today.
“I knew I was in good shape on the bike. I have improved a lot in the last six months and today I knew I had to stick with it.”
Hammond is enjoying her best year as a fledgling professional, adding the win here to her third place at March’s Kellogg’s Nutri Grain IRONMAN New Zealand.
“It was definitely unexpected to get this win today,” she said after taking advantage with IRONMAN Asia Pacific champion Caroline Steffen puncture while leading with a comfortable margin.
“I am really happy to get this result. Cairns is a great place. The temperature wasn’t too bad, despite the rain, it was actually quite good race conditions,” Hammond said.
Steffen built a commanding lead late in the bike leg only to succumb to a puncture and pull out of the race.
From there it was Kiwi Hammond who took the win by over four minutes from Japan’s Kiyomi Niwata with another New Zealander Anna Russell in third.
Leading professional women -
1.Candice Hammond (NZL) 4:24:02
2 Kiyomi NIWATA (JPN) 4:28:47
3 Anna RUSSELL (NZL) 4:31:51
4 Lisa MARANGON (AUS) 4:32:36
5 Tineke STEWART (AUS) 4:34:59
Leading professional men -
1 Brad KAHLEFELDT(AUS) 3:50:53
2 Tim REED (AUS) 3:51:21
3 Clayton FETTELL (AUS) 3:53:17
4 Sam APPLETON (AUS) 3:54:33
5 Sam BETTEN (AUS) 3:56:45
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Photo credit: Wade Lewis Art