Rookie win and back-to-back champion celebrated in the final Asia-Pacific Ironman race of 2015
Australians Matthew Pellow and Annabel Luxford struck gold at the IRONMAN 70.3 Ballarat.
It proved a breakthrough victory for Pellow while Luxford reinforced her strong form to make it two wins in a row following victory at Western Sydney. She produced yet another dominant performance from start to finish to run away with the win .
Luxford Leads From Go to Whoa
Luxford clocked a remarkable time of 4 hours 10 minutes 45 seconds over the 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run.
She led out of the water by over a minute ahead of the chase pack including Andrea Forrest, third at Western Sydney, and Kym Jaenke.
Luxford rode in a league of her own for the 90km bike with no-one able to make real inroads. Dutch star Yvonne Van Vlerken, racing just a week after finishing third at SunSmart IRONMAN Western Australia, led the charge but was always around two minutes behind with Australia’s Sarah Crowley five minutes back.
Luxford clocked 2:45 on the bike to take a commanding lead on to the 21.1km run from Van Vlerken and Australian Kate Pedley.
At the midpoint of the run, Beth Gerdes moved up to fourth but out front Luxford pushed her lead to nearly four minutes.
Luxford’s sights were set on capping off her year, after the win at IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney and a strong debut at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in October.
“I am very happy to come here and get the win after my Western Sydney title. This is my first time racing in Ballarat and I really enjoyed it,” says Luxford.
“I certainly prefer the IRONMAN 70.3 distance race. It fits between breakfast and lunch. It’s a little more ideal than one that takes all day. These races now feel short.”
“That was spectacular racing from Yvonne (Van Vlerken) to be able to do that today after an IRONMAN race last weekend. I can’t imagine racing a week after. I would still be on the couch.”
Van Vlerken and Pedley rounded out the podium but weren’t in the same class as Luxford today.
Pellow Pounces on Bell’s Misfortune
Young gun Matthew Pellow, fourth out of the swim, took his chances after misfortune to race ambassador Luke Bell with a strong effort on the run to claim his debut victory.
Former IRONMAN World Champion Pete Jacobs, Clayton Fettell, Casey Munro, Pellow and Bell exited the swim within seconds of each other before the experienced Bell pushed the early pace on the bike to open a two minute lead. Pellow led the chase with 3:29 back to Nick Baldwin, Munro and German Per Bittner.
However Bell suffered a mechanical issue late on the bike which wrecked his chances, although the race ambassador gamefully completed the race well down in the field.
Pellow led out on to the run at the front of the field, with Bittner, Baldwin and Munro a minute back.
Pellow stepped up the pace and at the half way mark and extended his lead. His 1:18:10 effort on the run was sufficient for a comfortable win, home in 3:51:21 to be four minutes clear of Bittner with Baldwin a further minute back.
“I spent most of the run dreaming about coming first and as each kilometre ticked by I got a little more excited,” says Pellow.
“I am just so happy to come away with my first win here today in Ballarat.”
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|2||Yvonne van Vlerken||NED||4:15:15|