34-year-old Swiss star Ruedi Wild claimed back-to-back wins in Asia with an impressive victory at Taitung, following his outstanding win at Subic Bay in the Philippines last weekend. After fending off former world champion Tim Reed and legend Craig Alexander on the run at Subic Bay, Wild knew he needed to set up his race in the swim and on the bike in the Taiwan heat. He was out of the 1.9km swim with a stellar quartet including American Tim O'Donnell, two-time world champion Michael Raelert, and four-time Olympian Sven Riederer.
The group distanced themselves on chasers on the bike before O'Donnell and Wild eked out a one minute buffer on to the two-lap run. By mid-race Wild made his move, gradually pushing clear on his way to the best run split of 1:14 and victory in 3:42.54, with O’Donnell nearly three minutes back in second, and Riederer completing the podium six minutes from the winner.
"It was similar but different...I could not be happier with my back to back wins," Wild says. "A good swim set the base for a successful day while the bike performance on my new weapon opens new opportunities. Once again I could rely on my great current running shape to celebrate another win."
Meanwhile, Chilean Barbara Riveros secured the win away from her homeland after dominating on the run. The women’s podium was clear from the beginning as they came out of the swim at the front of the field with Mariya Shorets (RUS), Radka Kahlefeldt (CZE) and Riveros clear of the pack, and never sighted again.
Kahlefeldt and Riveros quickly took control on the bike, riding together to open a six-minute advantage. Like the men, the eventual winner made the move mid-run, opening a 1:40 buffer at 11kms and her fastest split of 1:21 saw the Chilean home for the win in 4:13.21.
After three wins in a row at her home race in Pucon, this was the first international IRONMAN 70.3 win for the 29-year-old triple Olympian, who was fifth last year at the Rio Olympics.
Kahlefeldt, who won last week at Subic Bay, finished over three minutes back in second while a 1:21 run from Shorets landed her a third place finish more than 10 minutes clear of fourth place.
The rapidly evolving lure of Asian races was in full-force with the podiums secured by athletes from Switzerland, USA, Chile, Czech Republic, and Russia.
Top 5 Pro Men
1 Wild, Ruedi CHE 0:22:55…2:00:06…1:14:32…3:42:55
2 O'Donnell, Timothy USA 0:22:47…2:00:24…1:17:13…3:45:31
3 Riederer, Sven CHE 0:22:53…2:01:12…1:19:51…3:49:09
4 Croneborg, Fredrik SWE 0:24:59…2:07:14…1:15:25…3:53:20
5 Van Berkel, Tim AUS 0:23:37…2:08:17…1:17:27…3:55:01
Top 5 Pro Women
1 Riveros, Barbara CHI 0:25:22…2:20:39…1:21:45…4:13:22
2 Vodickova, Radka CZE 0:25:18…2:20:43…1:25:28…4:17:06
3 Shorets, Mariya RUS 0:25:18…2:27:03…1:21:50…4:19:41
4 Eberhardt, Anna HUN 0:34:11…2:21:24…1:28:42…4:30:33
5 Bevilaqua, Kate AUS 0:27:52…2:25:45…1:37:23…4:37:54