Max Neumann and Sarah Crowley both delivered perfectly executed races at the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championships in Cairns, taking the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific title.
Neumann delivered an impressive third straight win in Cairns, breaking the sub 8 barrier in a time of 7:52.53 over the 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run. Crowley, who is also no stranger to the top step of the podium in Cairns, took her second IRONMAN Cairns victory in a time of 8:59:40.
Neumann crossed the line ahead of Kiwi Braden Currie with Sam Appleton securing the final spot on the podium in only his second ever IRONMAN race.
“It’s been an incredible day, I absolutely love coming here and I think everybody would say the same this is the best race in the world by a long way,” said Neumann. “You travel all over the world, but you come back here and it’s by far the best race you could ever take part in so everyone out there should feel lucky they’re doing it and I think everyone out there will feel the same as I do.
“The swim was pretty quick, we had a nice little tailwind on the way home. We all stuck together, four of us, and then me, Appo and Currie worked really well together on the bike and put about ten minutes on the second group,” he said. “Coming in I dropped off a bit in the last couple of k’s to keep my legs fresh and so I came off the bike pretty fresh and really just stuck to my own plan, sitting at 3:47 pace for a 2:40 marathon and ran 2:41 in the end. I was just patient, if Currie wanted to run 2:36 for an IRONMAN he can take the win but it’s pretty hard to do here in these conditions, so I just stuck to my guns and it worked out.”
Appleton was laying down some serious power during the bike leg, but it was Neumann who made the final pass of Currie towards the tail end of the marathon with what was a perfectly timed pass for the lead.
“I had a plan from the start, they were riding pretty crazy, Appleton was on 340 watts when he went to the front and I think me and Currie were both just trying to hang on,” said Neumann. “I didn’t do too much work back into the headwind, it’s worked for me in the previous years and we had ten minutes on the second group and so I thought what’s the point, you’ve got to race to win not race to win by as many minutes as you can. The run felt very comfortable, and I sort of just paced it and had a plan to run 3:47 pace for the marathon.
“I thought Currie was on an absolute ripper day, he wasn’t coming back very quickly then all of a sudden he must’ve felt the world in his legs but he’s an incredible competitor and I’m privileged to be able to race against him so full respect to him,” he said.
Sarah Crowley dominated the women’s race with her impressive six minutes and change margin of victory over Radka Kahlefeldt, with 2021 IRONMAN Cairns champion Kylie Simpson in third.
Crowley’s second Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns title came five years after her maiden win back in 2017.
“I’m so thrilled, I love this race. I’ve tried to come every single year, it was my first IRONMAN 70.3 win and also my first IRONMAN win so it means a lot to me. I’ve got a few of these boomerangs and I just love the crowd here, the event’s amazing, the weather, the course is immaculate, it’s perfect,” said Crowley.
Crowley showed her ability to put together solid swim leg with the lead group, building a lead during the 180km bike leg and then holding strong on the run.
“We had a good group on the swim, it meant that I could switch off and just hang in there with them. I ended up getting out of the water first then I hopped on the bike and the goal was to get away from the group and make it fair race and everyone had to work,” she said. “Then on the run I just tried to hold that, I knew she’d chase early and I just tried to hold the gap but credit to Radka she stayed on and that was her first IRONMAN completed and that showed good things to come from her. I had to hang in there and my legs are pretty sore from Port Mac a few weeks ago but I did the job.”
Just seven weeks earlier, Crowley claimed the National Storage IRONMAN Australia title in Port Macquarie showcasing her great racing form at this point of the season.
“That hurt a lot more than the last one,” said Crowley. “Usually I actually go a bit better on the second one, so we just went after another one. It’s a good opportunity in Australia at the moment, there’s so much racing and it’s good to see good competition. I was pretty impressed with Radka today, she hung in there for a lot of it. I was really putting it down on the bike and I couldn’t shake her so amazing first-time effort.
For more information on the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns click here.
CAIRNS AIRPORT IRONMAN ASIA-PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIP CAIRNS – RESULTS
1. Max Neumann – 7:52:53
2. Braden Currie – 7:55:10
3. Sam Appleton – 8:05:33
4. Tim Van Berkel – 8:05:33
5. Henrik Goesch – 8:19:32
6. Matt Kerr – 8:31:21
7. Ben Phillips – 8:32:47
8. Brodie Gardner – 8:38:43
9. Blake Kappler – 8:40:32
10. Scott Harpham – 8:51:11
1. Sarah Crowley – 8:59:40
2. Radka Kahlefeldt – 9:05:16
3. Kylie Simpson – 9:19:21
4. Penny Slater – 9:21:18
5. Kristin Liepold – 9:36:10
6. Kate Bevilaqua – 9:44:38
7. Shannon Sutton – 10:07:52
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