Daniela Ryf wins her 3rd Ironman 70.3 World Championship. (Ironman.com)

On a historical day at the Icy Hot IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, two-time World Champion Daniela Ryf beat a stacked professional field to reap her third title in a women’s-only race at Chatanooga, USA.

Racing for Bahrain Endurance owned by the Prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Nasser Al Khalifa, Ryf came back from a back injury which sidelined her earlier this year. Her victory hard-earned against 1700 female triathletes on the start line of the 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run race.

The women started the swim on the glass-calm Tennessee River, and USA’s Lauren Brandon charged to the front, with fellow Americans Haley Chura and Sarah True pulling their weight in the up current portion of the 1.9km swim. The trio held their positions with Brandon clocking the fastest swim of the day (25:23). Race favourite and reigning champion Holly Lawrence’s surprising 2:17 minute deficit out of the swim was the first sign that things weren’t quite right.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship Women Podium led by Daniela Ryf, Emma Pallant and Laura Phillip. (Ironman.com)

Once on the bike, two-time IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion and reigning IRONMAN World Champion Ryf wasted no time putting her stamp, and she steered to a clear lead on top of the gruelling Lookout Mountain climb.  Fans watched intently as Lawrence began to work hard on shrinking her deficit out of the swim, but pulled out of the race at KM40.

Ryf clearly owned the day from that point onwards, carving a 9 minutes into her next closest competitor—Germany’s Laura Philipp, who also demonstrated her cycling strength without abandon. Into T2 well ahead of a chase pack of 10, Ryf took off on the 21km run course, ready to back up her race-best bike split of 2:20:21 over 90km.

Despite a strong field of runners behind her, Ryf’s dominant style led her to become the first person ever to earn the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship title three times. Daniela Ryf swam a 26:26, biked a 2:20:21, and put in a solid 1:22:06 run for a finishing time of 4:09:47.

“It was one of these races you wish to have at a world championship. It was not perfect—I lost my nutrition at 5k on the bike and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through the bike. I grabbed everything I could at the aid stations.” Ryf said.

(Twitter.com)

“(My performance) last year motivated me to train harder after not having a great race in at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Mooloolaba. This year I really tried to take the good energy with me into the race. This race meant a lot and I really wanted to show a good performance. I had to really give it my best and I knew that was needed to be able to win today.” said Ryf.

British middle-distance run specialist Emma Pallant showcased flawless technique propelling her to a race-best run split (1:19:48) to finish in second place 6:30 minutes behind the champion. Laura Philipp remained consistent to hold on to third, with American long-course newcomer and Olympian Sarah True putting on a memorable performance. Denmark’s Helle Frederiksen fought strong for fifth.

Top 10 Pro Women

1 Ryf, Daniela CHE 0:26:26 2:20:21 1:22:06 4:11:59
2 Pallant, Emma GBR 0:27:53 2:28:01 1:19:48 4:18:36
3 Phillip, Laura DEU 0:29:47 2:25:46 1:21:13 4:19:40
4 True, Sarah USA 0:25:38 2:30:17 1:22:46 4:21:40
5 Frederiksen, Helle DEN 0:26:23 2:29:07 1:23:41 4:22:12
6 Luxford, Annabel AUS 0:26:35 2:28:54 1:25:38 4:24:04
7 Wurtele, Heather CAN 0:27:52 2:27:34 1:27:00 4:25:39
8 Seymour, Jeanni ZAF 0:27:40 2:28:21 1:27:42 4:26:30
9 Chra, Haley USA 0:25:35 2:31:56 1:26:21 4:27:00
10 Hauschildt, Mel AUS 0:30:22 2:28:22 1:25:32 4:27:36

Source: Ironman.com and Twitter.