Monday 4 June 2012

Bike course coolest ever: Jacobs

Ironman champion Pete Jacobs turned in an outstanding time on the run to record a runaway victory in the inaugural Urban Hotel Group Ironman 70.3 Cairns from a gallant Luke McKenzie and Josh Rix both affected by the steamy conditions.

Brisbane’s Sarah Crowley also dominated the bike and run to claim a surprise win from Michelle Wu and New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn over the 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.2km run.

Jacobs backed up from his win last weekend at the Coral Coast 5150 Triathlon heralding his return to peak form after a troubling bio-mechanical injury has sidelined him since March.

“I am really happy with my win today, in the end, I wanted to dominate.”

“In the back of my mind, it was always to come here and really dominate. I have been riding a lot better than I have in the past and other than that I know my swim and run is one of the strongest in the world so now that I have lifted my bike I hoped that I was able to have that dominant performance, which I did,” added Jacobs.

The Sydneysider lead at every changeover, after the swim he had a good lead from McKenzie with all the other contenders flowing through.

Out on the bike leg a small but effective bunch made up the chase group hunting down Jacobs, McKenzie, Rix and Sam Appleton.

At the 30km mark the big mover was former professional cyclist Casey Munro joining Jacobs at the head of the field.

“I’ve done some training rides with Casey in Noosa so knew he would be good on the bike. When he went off the front he wasn’t pushing me that hard so I decided to try and hurt him,” said Jacobs.

“Once we turned the corner on the bike and hit the Captain Cook Highway on the coast I was blown away, really was the coolest bike course I have ever been on.”

The effort and heat took its toll on Munro in the closing stages of the bike leg and Jacobs eventually headed into the changeover with a good two minute lead. Munro’s efforts on the bike along with the conditions took their toll, fading on the run to finish well back.

McKenzie, Rix and Appleton continued to chase down Jacobs but were now racing for minor medals.

Jacobs went about his business and decimated the run cruising to victory in a dominant display.

“Smashed it”, was the cry from Jacobs as he crossed the line today, the win an indication he’s on track.

“It means that what I am doing in training is working and I am heading in the right direction and on the bike the hard work is paying off and I am really starting to pick up all three legs to aim for that Ironman world championship in October.”

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McKenzie was the next best on what was a tough day.

“Everything pointed to a pretty bad race here today to tell you the truth. I gave myself a 20 percent chance of finishing this race today. My swim and bike has been fine but I haven’t been able to run since Ironman Melbourne so to get off the run today and feel really good is absolutely surprising.

“I can’t believe it, I got off the bike and felt absolutely terrible and built into it and all of a sudden I started to feel better and it all came together. I don’t know how I ended up with second place today, I am stoked,” said McKenzie.

Rix wasn’t unhappy with third today after pushing hard on the bike.

“I got excited and chased Casey (Munro) a bit quick and was probably running a bit ahead of myself, it felt easy but I just backed off and got to about the 7km mark and knew I was in trouble.”

In the women’s race it was Sarah Crowley who managed the conditions best from pre race favourite Michelle Wu, who suffered on the run from the hot conditions and New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn finishing third.

Lawn was second out of the swim behind Lauren Parker with Wu next and Crowley a further 90 seconds back.

Once out onto the bike, Crowley dominated with a 2:22:56 bike split easily making up for lost time in the swim. Lawn was not so fortunate incurring a time penalty on the bike.

As Crowley hit the pavement she was really racing the clock.

“I knew I had a pretty good lead out of T2 so I was just trying to keep a nice tempo and kept my splits up – it was great coming back to The Esplanade and seeing the crowd – they really lift you during those last few kilometres,” said Crowley.

“It was pretty tough but I’ve been doing a lot of work in the heat, a lot of tempo work but there was a bit of mental toughness out there today.” 

“I’ve just been holding back on the little races here and there in preparation for this race and everything went to plan today.”

Wu chased hard on the run but the gap Crowley had amassed proved an impossible task.

“That was incredibly hard, I don’t think I’ve ever had to chase so hard in my life the girls really made it tough out there today.

“I tried to stick with the girls for as long as I could on the run but it wasn’t until around the 18km mark that I started to close the gap and I think with only 1km to go I passed Joanna and I kept thinking to myself ‘I can’t lose this, I can’t lose this’, so I’m just really happy I managed to get past her and take second place today.

“I just put my head down and ran my little heart out.

“Coming from Canberra I found it pretty hot out there today but compared to the weather earlier this week it’s pretty much perfect and the course was pretty special too,” said Wu.