Super talent Sebastian Kienle set the fastest bike split time in the 2012 Kona Ironman World Championship aboard his SCOTT Plasma. In his rookie appearance at the event, the young German hammered out an amazing effort on a windy Queen K course to earn the best time of 4:33:23.
Sebastian dropping the remnants of his group heading up Palani.
Kienle was put on the defensive early. The open ocean swell which created 20-30 foot waves on the north shore of Oahu also made conditions along the shores of the big island challenging for those more accustomed to calm water swims. Sebastian, a solid, but not overly adroit swimmer hit T1 in 55:21 putting him nearly five minutes down on the leaders going out onto the bike.
Kienle cranking out the miles on the Queen K.
Once out on the Queen K, the German steadily worked his way up to the leaders, including fellow SCOTT Triathletes Luke McKenzie and Marion Vanhoenacker.
Third on the bike, Luke McKenzie drove the train toward Hawi.
McKenzie, one of the best swimmers in the field, was third onto the bike and appeared the early aggressor on the bike course, going on to finish the bike with a time of 4:39:09, tenth best on the day. Vanhoenacker took over pace making duties from Luke at the front and was soon thereafter joined by Kienle. The two seemed poised to ride away with the race when disaster struck.
Kienle anxiously awaiting the Shimano neutral support.
Sebastian suddenly found himself stranded at the side of the road with a front flat. He scrambled to repair the damage, but in the adrenalin fueled moment he was unable to get rolling again before the neutral moto support arrived on scene with a fresh spare wheel.
Vanhoenacker going it alone.
Marino in the meantime, had no choice but to carry on by himself. The big Belgian pushed a big gear the entire way to the pier and T2 back in Kona, posting a staggering 4:25:49 for the 112 mile course. It was an impressive show of strength, putting him some eight and a half minutes in front of the field.
Did a bent hanger hamper Marino's race?
He implied on his Facebook page after the race that his shifting was off and he had no choice but to turn a big gear due to a mechanical suffered coming out of the first transition when he and Macca collided. The effort took its toll out on the run, though, and the Ironman World Record holder found himself unable to continue after the 16 mile mark in the marathon. Given his DNF, his bike split did not stand on the day.
Kienle entering T2 with the best bike time, even after waiting for a wheel.
Kienle on the other hand, recovered from his mishap which likely cost him a couple minutes. He refound his rhythm and again set about dragging back time from the leaders. By the time he reached the pier on Ali’i Drive, he was again amongst the leaders and set out for the run. With another outstanding effort in the marathon, Sebastian not only secured the best bike split, but also the fourth spot overall…all in his premiere performance in Kona.
In the women's race, Sonja Tajsich overcame a difficult swim with the third best bike split of 5:07:57, and recorded the best marathon of the day, a 2:59:26 to set a person best fourth place in Kona, moving up from a seventh place in 2011.