Swimming was reduced at Frankston to half distance of 1.5Km as swimmers battled into horrendous conditions. Australians, more used to open water conditions, made the initial push out of the swim before the field for the first lap of the bike together.
At mid-race, Vanhoenacker, the world’s fastest Ironman and his SCOTT Plasma, put the strongest pro field this side of the world championships to the sword, building a five minute lead before starting running.
“They stopped pedaling so I thought I would go to the front and next time I looked back I had 100 meters on them so I started riding my watts and the wind shifted that little bit which made it a little bit fast the second lap out, I did my thing and didn’t over do it. So it was good,” said Vanhoenacker.
Ironman Melbourne was Vanhoenacker’s first Ironman after a destroying experience at Kona 2012 where he lead until the 18km mark of the run before ending the day in an ambulance.
“I’m really happy especially after last year in Kona. I thought for a long time in the race that I was in a position to win but I knew it would have to be someone special to come and get me. I didn’t slow down until I was passed so I’m really, really happy with this,” he said.
The Belgian built a five-minute lead off the bike and looked to be the winner half way into the marathon. It was at the half way point that Spain’s Llanos pulled away from defending champion Alexander. Llanos finally caught Vanhoenacker at the 34km mark of the run, and then held his pace to take out the biggest win of his career.
Results Elite Men:
Eneko Llanos (ESP) 7:36.07 Marino Vanhoenaker (BEL) 7:38.58 Craig Alexander (AUS) 7:39.36 Jordan Rapp (USA) 7:50.53 Chris Legh (AUS) 7:52.28 Per Bittner (GER) 7:58.27 Jimmy Johnsen (AUS) 7:59.36 Jeremy Jurkiewicz (FRA) 8:00.49 Petr Vabrousek (CZE) 8:01.08 Tyler Butterfield (USA) 8:02.05