TENBY, Wales / 15 September 2019: The ninth edition of IRONMAN Wales was a picture perfect day as calm and mild conditions in Tenby made for record-breaking bike splits and tight racing in the professional field. Simone Mitchell (GBR) put in a stellar run performance to claim her first ever IRONMAN title and the top step on the professional women’s podium in a time of 09:41:52. In the men’s professional race, strong biking set up the field but typical to IRONMAN Wales, the run was a make or break affair. Arnaud Guilloux (FRA) was the most consistent athlete on the day, conquering a tough course and achieving his first IRONMAN win in a time of 08:48:06.
PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S RACE
The professional women’s field featured some intense matchups going into the race, with the likes of Laura Siddall (GBR), Lucy Gossage (GBR), Manon Genet (FRA) and Simone Mitchell (GBR) all entering the race as podium contenders.
It was Rebecca Clarke (NZL) that took the lead in the race early on with a quick swim time of 00:53:10 in unusually calm conditions, setting up a five-minute lead over Genet, and the chase pack of Mitchell, Maggie Rusch (USA) and Siddall further back. Genet started the hunt for the lead on the bike, but Mitchell’s incredibly strong biking skills saw her take control of the race by the 60km mark and hold it for the remainder of the bike course. Behind her, the battle was on between Genet, Siddall and Gossage.
Onto the run, Genet and Mitchell continued to jockey for first and second place throughout the course with Genet holding onto her lead for most of the run. That was until Mitchell saw her chance and passed Genet at 31km to take the lead. By this time the leading pair had cleared over 14 minutes to their closest rival in the form of Siddall. Mitchell’s steady pace paid off as she held onto first place all the way to the finish line to celebrate her first IRONMAN victory in 09:41:52. Manon took the second place 10 minutes down in 09:52:28, while Siddall rounded off the podium in 09:59:36.
The darling of IRONMAN Wales, defending champion Lucy Gossage who came out of retirement to race in Tenby for one last time, showed grit and resilience to claim fourth place in 10:06:20 and bid farewell to the crowds of Tenby which she called her “happy place”.
PROFESSIONAL MEN’S RACE
The professional men’s race was off to a quick start with Dylan McNeice taking a three-minute lead ahead of the competition on the swim, exiting the water in 00:47:27 ahead of Spain’s Peru Alfaro. The 2018 IRONMAN Wales second place winner, Philip Graves (GBR) had a strong swim, exiting the water in second place only 3 minutes 24 seconds behind the leader, giving him the necessary momentum to contest for the lead on the bike course.
Graves battled it out with fellow Brit, Joe Skipper on the technical and hilly bike course and worked hard to claw his way into McNeice’s lead. By 109km, Graves’ deficit to the leader was cut down to only 39 seconds. Further back in the field, it was the Frenchman Arnaud Guilloux that was quietly making his way up the field. Having exited the water in sixth place, Guilloux had ridden himself into third place by the end of the bike course, only one minute behind the leaders.
It was all going to come down to the hilly run course, snaking through the town centre of Tenby, to crown the 2019 IRONMAN Wales champion. Quick out of transition, Guilloux powered to the front of the pack, overtaking Graves and Stefan Schumacher (GER) within the first 8km to take the lead in the race. Behind Guilloux, the battle for second and third was heating up as Austrian Maximillian Hammerle made his way up the field and along with him, Fabian Rahn (GER) clocking average speeds of 04:12/km on a very tough course. In the end, Guilloux was simply too strong with a well-rounded and consistent performance throughout the day securing his maiden IRONMAN victory in a time of 08:48:06. Hammerle followed in second in a time of 08:57:58 and Rahn securing third place in 09:00:09.
In 2020, IRONMAN Wales celebrates its 10th anniversary with a record field expected. General entries for the 2020 event opens on 23 September 2019. For more information please visit the event website, www.ironman.com/wales
Top 5 Women
1. Simone Mitchell, GBR, 09:41:52
2. Manon Genet, FRA, 09:52:28
3. Laura Siddall, GBR, 09:59:36
4. Lucy Gossage, GBR, 10:06:20
5. Sabrina Harpaintner, GER, 10:50:48
Top 5 Men
1. Arnaud Guilloux, FRA, 08:48:06
2. Maximilian Hammerle, AUT, 08:57:58
3. Fabian Rahn, GER, 09:00:09
4. Stefan Schumacher, GER, 09:02:11
5. Dylan McNeice, NZL, 09:10:11