Former world champion Terenzo Bozzone bounced back with a big win while Mary Beth Ellis ran away with the women’s race at IRONMAN 70.3 Florida 2019 in Haines City
By Shawn Skene
After having a car door opened on him while riding his bike two days before the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in January, New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone struggled to get back to form in time for IRONMAN New Zealand. At that race he found himself well off course during the swim and learned that he was suffering from a delayed concussion.
After four weeks of rest, Bozzone is finally back, and enjoyed a huge win in Haines City this weekend. American Mary Beth Ellis controlled the women’s race from start to finish, finishing the swim within seconds of the lead before pulling away on the bike and run for her win in the Sunshine State.
Bozzone shows the way
Dirk Bockel (LUX) led a pack of seven out of Lake Eva that were within 12 seconds of each other. The lead group contained James Hadley (USA), Bozzone, Edgardo Velez (PRI), Kevin Collington (USA), Arturo Garza (MEX) and Sam Betten (AUS).
Out on the single-loop bike course, Bockel, Bozzone, Collington and Max Kriat (UKR) rode together for the first 25 miles. A chase pack of Hadley, Betten and Garza formed a minute back of the leaders, but could never make any inroads into the group up front.
Over the closing miles of the ride, Bozzone and Bockel surged to the front, dropping Collington and Kriat from the lead group. The lead pair ran into T2 with a 1:11 advantage over Collington and 2:29 on Kriat.
During the first of three loops of the run, Bozzone led the way with Bockel just seconds behind, while Collington clawed his way to within 33 seconds of the leader. Bozzone picked up the pace over the second loop and opened up a 48 second gap on Collington in second, with Bockel in third, 1:15 back. Kriat slipped to 5:20 in arrears in fourth.
Over the final loop Bozzone showed his terrific leg speed as he distanced himself from the field. He crossed the finish line in 3:45:51 to establish a new course record. Collington finished second only 1:22 off Bozzones’s winning pace, proving his second place finish at the US Pro Championship at IRONMAN 70.3 St. George was no fluke. Bockel rounded out the podium with his 3:48:16 clocking, 2:26 off the winning time.
Ellis too strong
In the women’s race, Kat Baker’s (AUS) 25:35 swim time saw her hit the beach at Lake Eva Park seconds ahead of Ellis and Dede Griesbauer (USA). A group of seven in pursuit of the leading trio found themselves 37 to 53 seconds behind. In that group were Nina Kraft (DEU), Miranda Tomenson (CAN), Jessica Smith (USA), Jo Lawn (NZL), Missy Kuck (USA), Mandy McLane (USA) and Anne Basso (FRA).
At 25 miles into the bike, Ellis held a slim nine-second lead over Baker. The leading duo were steadily pulling away from the chasing group of six women that contained Lawn, McLane, Tomenson, Kuck, Kraft and Smith—they were more than three minutes behind.
Ellis managed to break away from Baker during the closing miles of the bike and entered T2 with a 1:27 buffer on the Aussie. The same six women that were chasing Ellis and Baker earlier now found themselves well over five minutes behind as they finished the 56-mile ride.
Ellis cruised through the run, expanding her lead with each passing mile. Baker started to fade as McLane and Lawn made their way into second and third through the end of the second loop. Ellis finished with an impressive 4:14:03, followed by McLane in 4:19:10, while Lawn rounded out the podium in 4:20:51.