Is 2012 Iroman 70.3 Hawaii a prep race for Lance Armstrong? With Ironman France 2012 less than a month away it seems that the Saturday June 2, 2012 running of the race on the Big Island might be just that.
Does that mean Armstrong is not concerned about winning Ironman 70.3 Hawaii?
Not a chance. It doesn’t seem to be in his nature to give less than 100% from the moment the gun goes off. As a matter of fact it would not be inconceivable to see Lance have his fastest 70.3 swim leg in his five attempts as a pro.
There are two big reasons for this and they are Chris Lieto and Maik Twelsiek who are exceptional bikers in their own right.
Lance will want to stay close as possible and then pick the moment when he will attempt to break away and create a gap going into the run. This is the strategy that appears to work best for him and if his running ability continues to improve(1:15 run in Ironman 70.3 Florida)it may be difficult for anyone to catch him, especially if he goes 2:01 in the bike leg as he did in Florida.
The key to this race for Lance might be to create as much as a gap between himself and Olympian Greg Bennet who may be the most likely make a late charge on the run course after being a behind heading into the bike/run transition.
I could see this being a Lance Armstrong, Greg Bennet and Maik Twelsiek top three when the dust settles.
IRONMAN 70.3 HAWAII COURSE
This race may take place in one of the most stunningly spectacular Ironman 70.3 venues in the world but by no means is this an easy course in any way, shape, or form.
Actually there are several factors that make each leg of this race extremely challenging.
In the swim that takes place off of Hapuna Beach State Park it is very likely there will be a fair bit of choppy wave action to contend with.
The bike may be toughest of all as it takes place on the hardest half of the Ironman Hawaii course where cross-winds can be savage and quickly drain even the fittest of triathletes of the valuable energy they will need in order to navigate the undulating run course.
This is not just any run course. It takes place over grass, gravel, golf-cart pathways, and on pavement. It is not really a course that favors speedy runners like Greg Bennet and could well work in the favor of Lance Armstrong.
THE PRO MEN
Armstrong, Lance Bennett, Greg Bowstead, James Bowstead, Mark Crawford, Guy Jeuland, Jose Lieto, Chris Lubinski, Jim Marr, Timothy Smith, Jason Taddonio, Kevin Twelsiek, Maik
For the pro women there it seems to be a race between Hillary Biscay, Melanie McQuaid, Kate Bevilaqua, Linsey Corbin, and Bree Wee for the podium spots.
Hillary Biscay will most likely lead the way out of the swim/bike transition because of her strong swimming.
However Kate Bevilaqua is having a great year with several top-three finishes already recorded for 2012 and than of course there is Bree Wee who probably knows this course as well as anyone.
I could see this as Bree Wee, Kate Bevilaqua, and Hillary Biscay in that order on the podium once the race is in the books. We will soon know as the race is less than four hours away at the time of this lead-in into the race.
THE PRO WOMEN
Axmann, Angela Bevilaqua, Kate Biscay, Hillary Corbin, Linsey Fergusson, Naomi Grant, Julia McQuaid, Melanie Nelson, Teresa Thibodeau, Karen Vertiz, Tatiana Walsh, Beth Wee, Bree
As expected, there appears to be plenty of chop out on the swim course according to the spotters.
It was Chris Lieteo taking the lead in the swim, with two groups chasing after him. Not surprisingly, Hillary Biscay is swimming in the lead pack with the men and as predicted should be the first woman out on the run course.
Bree Wee is in the second chase pack.
About 14 minutes into the swim Lance Armstrong appears to be in third place, but spotters are having a hard time confirming swim placements because of the rough water conditions.
Lance Armstrong ended up in a sprint to the swim finish and finished third in behind Bennet who was second and Tim Marr who was first out of the water. No word yet what happened to Chris Lieto.
Hillary Biscay is first out of the water, and is followed by Bree Wee, Linsey Corbin and Karen Thibodeau.
TOP TEN MEN-SWIM
23:16 Timothy Marr 23:22 0:07 Lance Armstrong 23:26 0:11 Guy Crawford 23:31 0:16 Chris Lieto 23:31 0:16 Ollie Whistler 23:32 0:17 Mark Bowstead 25:19 2:04 James Bowstead 25:23 2:08 Jose Jeuland Bais
TOP TEN WOMEN-SWIM
25:21 Hillary Biscay 27:01 1:40 Bree Wee 27:01 1:41 Karen Thibodea 27:01 1:41 Julia Grant 27:07 1:47 Kate Bevilaqua 27:10 1:50 Linsey Corbin 27:15 1:54 Teresa Nelson 27:16 1:56 Melanie McQuaid 27:20 2:00 Tatiana Vertiz 27:26 2:06 Angela Axmann
Early out on the bike course it is “super-fast” runner Greg Bennett with a few seconds lead on Lance Armstrong. Chris Lieto and Maik Twelsiek are both over a minute back already.
At some point you would think that Lance will explode into the lead and create as big a gap as possible between himself and Bennett before they reach the bike/run transition.
In past races where it looked like Lance was imploding in the run(Florida 70.3 aside)it seems much of the problem was nutrition issues and not conditioning. Apparently Lance worked much of this out and it showed In his domination of the recent 70.3 in Florida where he posted a sizzling 2:01 bike and followed it up with a 1:15 run.
True to form, Lance has taken over the lead at the 10-mile mark of the bike course. By 12 miles he is almost a minute up on Bennett who is in second Lieto and Twelsiek are slipping further back in third and fourth place.
lance Armstrong is in his element now and all that is left to see(barring mechanical failure)is just how big that gap will be once he reaches the bike/run transition.
Melanie McQuaid is still in the lead for the pro women at the eight mile mark. Julie Grant, Bree Wee, Linsey Corbin, and Hillary Biscay are all within two minutes of Melanie.
The lead men are on the way up the hill to Hawi to the bike turn-around. Of course it’s the same turn-around as Ironman Hawaii.
It seems like yesterday when I was struggling up that same hill to Hawi in 1984 with no aero-bars or clipless pedals on my $300 piece-of-crap bike. I was just starting up when the pros came screaming down that hill with Dave Scott on his way to victory.
The winds were so strong that it was blowing age-groupers right over because they could not keep up enough momentum to get up the hill. It was around 110 degrees on the Queen K. Highway in Ironman Hawaii 1984.
Here is a quote I just read from Ironmanlive about today’s race that substantiates what I am referring to.
The athletes are struggling to stay on the road thanks to the incredible winds out there right now.
Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Scott Tinley, and the Puntos twins from Quebec(Patricia and Sylvanne) who finished first and second for the pro women. It was such an incredible era in our sport. As a note of interest, both the Timex Ironman Watch and Zoot were born in Kona in 1984 and the rest as they say, is history.
An hour and seventeen minutes into the race and Melanie McQuaid is still holding down the lead for the women. Julie Grant and Bree Wee seem content to sit less than a minute off the pace.
Now there is rain to deal with as well and it should make for an interesting downhill when the pros make the turn at Hawi.
Chris Lieto is 1:56 behind Lance Armstrong approaching the turn at Hawi. Bennett has slipped to third and is just over 2:30 back.
It appears the Hillary Biscay has slipped back in the field as she is not in the top five as the women near the turn at Hawi. McQuaid is still in the lead, followed by Julia Grant, Linsey Corbin, Bree Wee, and Karen Thibodeau.
PRO MEN AT THE HAWI TURN-AROUND
1:32:03 Lance Armstrong 1:33:57 1:55 Chris Lieto 1:34:42 2:40 Greg Bennett 1:37:09 5:07 Maik Twelsiek 1:41:00 8:58 Guy Crawford 1:41:51 9:49 Ollie Whistler
At the 37-mile mark Lance Armstrong has a lead of 2:38 on second place Chris Lieto and over four minutes on Greg Bennett. He most likely will need a larger cushion as Bennett is quite capable of making up four or five minutes on the run course.
Armstrong did a 21-mile run on Wednesday in preparation for Ironman France that comes up in about three weeks. He’s having an impressive day considering he did not taper for this race and is using it as part of his Ironman France training preparation.
It remains to be seen if he has the legs to hold of Greg Bennett who is sure to come charging out on the run course.
This is not a done deal for Lance as Greg Bennett is having a strong ride and is just over 4:30 back of Lance Armstrong.
It appears the podium placings will be decided between Armstrong, Lieto, Bennett, and Twelsiek as the others are far back. My original picks were Armstrong, Bennett, and Twelsiek in that order. I would expect Chris Lieto to be odd man out as he is nursing an Achilles injury that will most likely come into play on the run course.
It would seem that the unorthodox run course(grass, pathways, gravel, and pavement)will work in Lance’s favor as it is not conducive to speedsters like Bennett. It will be more of a strength orientated run.
It’s not great news for Bennett that he is further behind at the 48-mile mark than first reported. He is actually 5:43 back and by transition that could well be six minutes.
His lead is 3:40 over Chris Lieto running is second.
Linsey Corbin is in the lead for the women followed by Melanie McQuaid, Bree Wee, and Julie Grant who are all within three minutes.
Times are all over the map. Now the official time for Lance is 2:24 on the bike course which makes more sense.
Here are the official times now.
PRO MEN LEAVING BIKE/RUN TRANSITION
1 2:25:26 Lance Armstrong 2 2:29:14 3:49 Chris Lieto 3 2:32:20 6:55 Greg Bennett 4 2:33:15 7:50 Maik Twelsiek
After just one mile on the run course Greg Bennett is 6:15 back as he already begins to close the gap.
As expected, Chris Lieto is fading in the run and will most likely be caught by Maik Twelsiek soon for third place. He is now almost eight minutes back of Armstrong.
Linsey Corbin is the first pro female onto the run course after a 2:52:02 bike split. Not sure what happened with Kate Bevilaqua. Figured Kate to be in contention for a podium spot today.
At first I thought Hillary Biscay falling far back was a bit of a surprise today than realized that she was just in Ironman Brazil last week and that pretty much explains it.
At the seven-mile mark the charge by Bennett appears to have stalled as he is still close to five minutes back. You can bet that Armstrong knows exactly how much cushion he has and if he holds it together will be on his way to victory number two.
At 2.5 miles into the run, Linsey is in the lead followed by Melanie McQuaid (3:10 back), Julia Grant (3:16 back), Bree Wee (3:46). The battle for second is still going strong and Beth Walsh is charging towards them. All the women were reported to be looking strong in the heat, sun, and wind.–IronmanLive
Despite the challenging conditions of the day Lance Armstrong is set to smash the course record if he maintains his current pace.
Over the last few miles spotters report that Lance is slowing down(probably on purpose).
Melanie Mcquaid has fallen back and it’s Linsey Corbin still leading with Julie Grant and Bree Wee following in second and third.
Lance Armstrong is the winner of Ironman 70.3 Hawaii with a time of 3:50:55. Greg Bennett is second in 3:53:41. They both broke the record set by Chris McCormack set back in 2007.
Chris Lieto had a truly great performance considering his injury and held off Maik Twelsiek for third place. He had actually been passed by Twelsiek but managed to pass him back in the final miles.
TOP TEN PRO MEN
3:50:55...............Lance Armstrong 3:53:41...............Greg Bennett 4:05:55...............Chris Lieto 4:06:16...............Maik Twelsiek 4:06:59...............Guy Crawford 4:12:24...............Jose Jeuland Bais 4:13:45...............James Bowstead 4:18:05...............Mark Bowstead 4:18:58...............Timothy Marr 4:21:16..............Jim Lubinski
Linsey Corbin is having a great race and looks to be on her way to the win with just two miles left to run.
Julie Grant is still second and Bree Wee is a fading third. Strongest of all is Beth Walsh who is after a podium spot.
Linsey Corbin takes top spot in Ironman 70.3 Hawaii for the pro women with an unofficial time of 4:26:09 that’s also a new course record.
Julie Grant had a remarkable last few miles and took second spot and Beth Walsh finished in third to round out the podium.
TOP NINE PRO WOMEN
Corbin, Linsey............04:26:09 Grant, Julia..............04:30:17 Walsh, Beth...............04:31:47 Wee, Bree.................04:32:45 McQuaid, Melanie..........04:38:57 Thibodeau, Karen..........04:44:12 Biscay, Hillary...........04:53:50 Axmann, Angela............04:55:16 Vertiz, Tatiana...........04:56:12 Fergusson, Naomi..........5:00:09 Nelson, Teresa............05:11:17
Be sure to check out the Ironman 70.3 age-group results for 2012.
Also, would love to read your thought on the upcoming Ironman France and how you think Lance will do at his first full-distance Ironman.
Comment in the box below this page.