Hufe, Weiss win IRONMAN Austria

Monday 02 July 2018
Athletes often dream their dreams during training rides. What about this one: IRONMAN Austria is celebrating its 20th anniversary and you are the first Austrian male ever to take the win at this huge event? Sound unreal? Well, this dream came true for Michael Weiss. 

After placing second twice and third once in Klagenfurt, the 37-year-old knew right at the start of the impressive bike course that it’s now or never. Nailing an outstanding 4:16:09 bike split after a solid swim in the crystal clear Lake Woerthersee, Weiss was on a mission when he started the run. With 50 kilometers to go on the bike, he had passed the two leaders Lukasz Wojt and Johann Ackermann like a blizzard. He was not complaining about the fact that he didn’t drop these two decisively until they hit T2. For Weiss, it was way more important to put time on runners like Ivan Tutukin from Russia, David Plese (SLO), British David McNamee and Andy Potts. And he was successful. Once he was on the run, the hunt was on both among the chasers and at the front of the race. On the first 21.1 kilometers, Weiss hammered out a 1:18:54. McNamee had to pay for a fast start later, and Potts tried to pace himself to silver but he got passed by a flying Tutukin on the final kilometers. When these two hit the magic finish line carpet, Weiss was already living his dream.

Lisa Huetthaler was close to fulfilling a similar dream in the women’s race. Sure, there had been other Austrian women celebrating big titles even before in Klagenfurt (Kate Allen, Eva Dollinger, Eva Wutti), but the 34-year-old was clearly aiming for the victory after running into third place at the Lake Woerthersee in 2014. The key to reaching this goal would be staying in the mix from start to finish. 

Her compatriot Beatrice Weiss was far away in the water, but Huetthaler made up this four-minute deficit together with Emma Pallant (GBR) and Mareen Hufe from Germany kilometer by kilometer on the bike. After a third of the bike course the gap was less than a minute, and at half-way the trio caught up with the Austrian pro rookie. Hufe, Huetthaler and Pallant stormed towards T2, clearly sailing away from co-favorite Susie Cheetham who came off the bike 15 minutes down. 

While Hufe pushed the pace on the bike decisively, it was on Pallant to take over after about 10 kilometers of the run. It looked like the Bri would benefit from Hufe’s strong ride at the front of their group, but the German powerhouse didn’t slow down. Through 32 kilometers, Pallant still had a lead of three minutes before she started to feel the heat. With 5 kilometers to go, the 40-year-old German had the champions' momentum. She ran to the front and to her first IRONMAN title after seven runner-ups. 

Top 5 Pro Men
1 Weiss, Michael AUT 8:04:46
2 Tutukin, Ivan RUS 8:13:21
3 Potts, Andy USA 8:14:25
4 Plese, David SLO 8:16:01
5 Ackermann, Johann GER 8:26:41

Top 5 Pro Women
1 Hufe, Mareen GER 9:00:32
2 Huetthaler, Lisa AUT 9:01:47
3 Pallant, Emma GBR 9:03:59
4 Cheetham, Susie GBR 9:12:45
5 Loughnan, Emily AUS 9:16:22
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