Els Visser wins IRONMAN Maastricht

Monday 06 August 2018
The fourth edition of the IRONMAN Maastricht–Limburg was a pro women’s race only and couldn’t have been be more exciting. Though the challenging course and hot temperatures didn’t allow a fast race, it was indeed a strategic one as as the conditions requested the right handling. The one who did it right was Dutch athlete Els Visser who left countrywoman Yvonne Van Vlerken behind to win her very first IRONMAN.

The swim in the river Maas was dominated by Haley Chura (USA). The strong swimmer came out after the 3.8 km first in 52:05. She opened quite a gap and German Katja Konschak was second in 56:04, with Sonia Bracegirdle (NZL) third in 1:00:23.   

Chura lead the bike while Katja Konschak fell back and Visser moved from fourth to second before 30 k. Van Vlerken had the mission to win her home race again as she did in 2015 and steadily came closer. At the half-way point of the bike she moved into third, while Visser rode up to the front leaving Chura behind. Since Visser wasn't on a lot of people's radars, she was able to build up her lead consistently, making it to T2 with 6:33 over Chura. Angela Naeth (CAN) was third off the bike with Van Vlerken very close behind her.

Visser flew away on the marathon, with Chura starting more than seven minutes back. Van Vlerken made her way back to third position knowing the hilly course well. First it seemed Chura could keep her pace, but at 20 k she hit the wall and fell back. Van Vlerken took over as the chaser, but despite her hard work couldn’t close the gap on the run. Visser ran her constant pace, while Van Vlerken fought through the run. Naeth and Sonia Bracegirdle had their own battle going on for third until Naeth fell back at about 30 k.

Visser made it to the finish after an incredibly steady performance to win her first IRONMAN race ever in 9:31:06. Van Vlerken finished second in 9:34:55, with Bracegirdle completing the podium at her very first IRONMAN competition in 9:38:29.

Top 5 Pro Women
1 Visser, Els NED 9:31:06
2 Van Vlerken, Yvonne NED 9:34:55
3 Bracegirdle, Sonia NZL 9:38:29
4 Konschak, Katja GER 9:39:39
5 Naeth, Angela CAN 9:41:00
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