It was a return to form for Luke Bell as he claimed the Challenge Shepparton title on Sunday. The Australian, who was forced to withdraw from two races this year including Kona afflicted with heatstroke, was definitely in his element in the cool and windy conditions in Victoria.
“I was quite happy when I woke up this morning and saw the winds,” he said. “Training has gone exceptionally well, I just haven’t been able to deliver on race day which has been frustrating for the past six months. It’s just a matter of being patient. It always comes back around and it’s just nice for it to come back here.”
Bell set up his win with a strong bike leg, taking advantage of tailwinds when he could to open a seven-minute lead going onto the run. “It looks easy, but it was painful and it’s always good to win from the front,” he revealed.
Fredrik Croneborg repeated his second-place finish at Ironman Malaysia but logged faster times across the swim, bike, and run before finding himself in a sprint dash versus the eventual winner.
“I really wanted the win and dug really deep, but after a hard battle with Mike Aigroz and Harry Wiltshire running side by side for the entire marathon, it was down to the last 200 meters when Mike could outsprint me,” the Swede said. “In the end I gave it my all so I still need to be happy with my second place. I know 2016 can be my best year ever if I get my run back to standard!”
Brent McMahon salvaged a second-place finish at Ironman Arizona with the fastest marathon of the day. The Canadian exited the swim in second place with a two-minute buffer from the chase pack, but suffered a flat tire on the second loop of the three-loop bike course that cost him precious minutes to repair. He worked hard to catch up, moving from 11th at the 47-mile marker up to 6th off the bike. Once out on the run course he picked off all in front of him except one, fellow Canadian Lionel Sanders. Despite the mishap on the bike, McMahon was only a minute shy of logging his third sub-8 hour Ironman.
Photo credit: Getty Images / Challenge Shepparton