Nicholas Kastelein Jr has won the 21st edition of Ironman Switzerland, and his very first Ironman title.
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Although he came out of the swim leg with a 2 second deficit, Kastelein Jr took control of the event on the bike, and stayed dominant in the lead to close out an 8:13:28 finish.
The Mudgee Ironman had a 7:11 margin over the next best competitor, local Swiss athlete Ruedi Wild, while a second local representative – Jan Van Burkel – finished with a 13:23 deficit on the leader.
The triumph in Switzerland is the very first time Kastelein Jr has claimed Ironman honours, and comes after a runners-up finish to training partner Jan Frodeno in Barcelona 70.3 earlier in the year.
Notably, Kastelein Jr’s finish was the third fastest out of the twenty one iterations of the event.
That pace was beaten only by Schildknecht’s 8:12:40 finish in 2010 and Olivier Bernhard’s 8:12:27 in 2000.
Australia led from the outset in the tournament, with fellow Aussie Alexander Polizzi setting the mark in the swim, 48:16 ahead of Kastelein Jr.
It took only 37 kilometers for Kastelein Jr and Wiltshire to break away from the main pack, leading a small seven man group into the lead.
Alongside the two leaders were Fontana, Sapunov, Wild, Van Berkel and Polizzi, while the next closest rider was Schildknecht who trailed by 6:40.
By 62 km, Kastelein Jr had dropped Wiltshire into second and taken a 1:42 lead on the next best.
After a 4:31:13 bike split, Kastelein arrived at T2 with a 1:10 lead on Wurf, and a 6:07 lead on Van Berkel.
The race was blown wide open when race favourite Schildknecht suffered a cramp induced muscle strain and dropped out just before the half point of the event.
After a 2nd-fastest 2:50:24 run, Kastelein finished in 8:13:28 with a 7:11 margin of victory over Wild, who closed with a race-best 2:49:21 run.
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