In a day of battle on the forefront of triathlon in Japan, Australians Annabel Luxford and Mitch Robins put their best foot forward to win top honours at the Lixil IRONMAN 70.3 Centrair Chita Peninsula Japan.
It proved a quinella in both races with Robins and fellow Australian Tim George finishing one-two in the men, while Luxford led by Western Australia’s Kate Bevilaqua in the women.
Robins back in winning ways
Japan’s Ken Koike led the professional men’s field out of the 1.9km swim in 25:14, with a handy buffer over New Zealand’s Guy Crawford and Japan’s Kuniaki Takahama.
Crawford, already a winner in Asia this season, pushed hard early on the bike to open a 1:16 advantage after 16kms, on his way to a 2:40 buffer after the 90km ride from a group of four comprising Rodrigo Acevedo (COL), Tim George (AUS), Fredrik Croneborg (SWE) and Mitch Robins (AUS).
Crawford managed to hold on with his front-running tactics in his victory in Taiwan. But he faded in the heat in Chita, with the Philippines-based Australian Robins producing a superb 1:18 half marathon run which saw him dominate. He won in 4:01.49, which was more than two minutes clear of compatriot George with a further minute back to Acevedo with Crawford fading to fourth.
“I’m so happy to be here. It’s a fantastic race and I am really happy to be back winning again,” says Robins.
“I found some good form last year and felt I was back into good form but it fell away. I was patient today and had an excellent run.”
Luxford proves all class
Australia’s Annabel Luxford was too classy for the women’s field, winning in 4:24:05 by nearly nine minutes.
“I’m really excited to be here. It was a super fast race. I didn’t know how I would go coming off the Ironman in South Africa. But I’m really thankful to all the race organisers and volunteers and all the competitors who did a fantastic job,” said Luxford.
Luxford has a raft of IRONMAN 70.3 victories around the globe, racing in Japan a few weeks after a tough fifth placing at IRONMAN South Africa.
She led from the gun, out of the 1.9km swim in 25:41, to lead by 34 seconds from the well-performed Japanese athlete Keiko Tanaka with compatriots Kate Bevilaqua and Renee Baker 2 minutes back.
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