American Ben Hoffman (pictured at the Ironman World Championship in 2019) won a thrilling duel with Denmark’s Magnus Ditlev to take Ironman Texas today, finally pulling clear in the last few hundred metres to take the win over the Ironman rookie, who spent almost nine minutes on the side of the road due to a mechanical issue on the bike.
In the women’s race Jocelyn McCauley got to the front of the race by the 65 km point of the bike and never looked back as she cruised to a big win in The Woodlands, Texas.
Hoffman sprints to the win
Richard Varga led the men out of the water with Sweden’s Alexander Berggren right on his heels. France’s Sam Laidlow was 32 seconds back and then there was a big gap of almost 2:30 to the next group of athletes out of the water.
Out on the bike Varga and Laidlow were able to stay at the front for much of the bike, but around the 130 km mark it was a super-rider Ditlev who moved to the lead. He would be sidelined by a flat tire in the last eight miles of the race, though. By the time he was back on the bike he had lost the lead and hit T2 alongside Hoffman, with Sweden’s Jesper Svensson just a few seconds back.
Out on the run course Laidlow and Varga were looking to use their almost-eight-minute lead to run to the win, but both would succumb to cramps as Hoffman and Ditlev started to gain time. Hoffman managed to get clear of the Dane, but through 20 miles the two were together, setting up a duel over the final 10 km for the win. Ditlev tried to make a move with about 400 m to go, but Hoffman was able to mark that move and sprint clear with 200 m to go, taking the win in 7:57:58 after running a 2:40 marathon. Ditlev would also run 2:40, but would have to settle with second in his Ironman debut thanks to his 7:58:12 finishing time. Svensson rounded out the podium at 8:08:54.
Canada’s Cody Beals managed to stay in the mix for much of the day, coming out of the water in 10th place, 4:47 behind the swim leaders, then finishing the bike in 12th place before running a brilliant 2:45 marathon to get himself just one spot of the podium in fourth – his time was 8:09:55.
Other Canadian pros in the field included David Lacombe, 9:35:34, Nick Cosman, 9:41:46 and Francis Martin 9:44:45.
McCauley bikes to the win
As is usual at pretty much any event she’s in, Lauren Brandon led the women out of the water, finishing the swim in 50:31 with Rachel Zilinskas three seconds back. McCauley would hit T1 in third, but was 5:36 behind the two fast swimmers.
Out on the bike, though, McCauley quickly closed the gap and moved to the front, T2 with a lead of 7:04 on Brandon, hitting the ageless Dede Griesbauer, 51, hit T2 in third place.
After a rough swim that saw her almost 15 minutes behind the leaders, Canada’s Jen Annett managed to ride herself to fifth place by the end of the bike. Mel McQuaid (who is 48) followed up a solid swim (she was 10th out of the water, one spot behind Griesbauer) with a good bike to hit T2 in 10th place.
Out on the run course there was no stopping McCauley, who cruised through a 3:13 marathon to take the win at 8:58:13. Brandon hung on for second in 9:10:43, with Switzerland’s Joanna Ryter using a speedy 3:02:53 marathon to move to the final spot on the podium.
Annett would stay in fifth (9:25:52) while McQuaid would pull out of the race after the bike.