Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TBB and blueseventy Show Dominance at IM Austria

The stage was set for Bella Comerford to take over the championship, while three-time winner, Marino Vanhoenacker, was back to see if he could turn that into a four.

The women's race was opened up by TBB and blueseventy’s athlete Lucie Zelenkova, who came out with the leading men. A win in South Africa in April had wet her appetite for the podium places. Team mate Bella Bayliss lagged a little on the swim, so Zelenkova's tactic was clearly to get out of sight and out of mind. Co-incidentally, this was exactly what Vanhoenacker was doing as he flew out of T1 and immediately set about building a clear buffer.

While Vanhoenacker's tactic paid off in spades, even Björn Andersson's attempt to bridge-up failed (and effectively doomed his race at the same time). Zelenkova was caught and passed by Bayliss before T2.

Marino's lead was such that it wasn't just a case of winning, but whether he could crack that magic eight-hour mark. In the end he slowed just enough that he missed the sub-eight, but still claimed a new course record and took home a fourth winners cheque. Bayliss had lit the afterburners and was heading for an emphatic win which, as a by-product, also gave her a sub-nine time, the second fastest official time ever. Even Sonja Tajsich, her nearest rival, managed to squeak under the clock to joint the sub-nine club - the second year in a row Austria has delivered two women at sub-nine times.

Revelation of the race has to be South African and TBB/Blueseventy athete James Cunnama, who worked with the chase group and then set about delivering a run that was perfectly measured to keep him in second place. He couldn't catch Vanhoenacker, but he could certainly hold off last year's runner-up, Stephen Bayliss, (again TBB and blueseventy athlete) who had to settle for third place this time.

Blueseventy and TBB congratulate all ther athletes for such a strong showing at the front end of the field.

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