Butterfield third in Ironman France
Tyler Butterfield backed up Flora Duffy’s fine performance of the day before by finishing third in Ironman France, in Nice, this morning.
The Bermudian completed the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run in 8hr 40min 56sec, a mere 7½ minutes behind the winner, Bart Aernouts, of Belgium.
Aernouts, who completed the course in 8:33:22, maintained his country’s dominance of the race, with Frederik van Lierden having won the three previous editions.
Butterfield came out of the Mediterranean Sea five seconds ahead of the winner in 51:53 but it was Aernouts’s performance on the bike that made the difference, as he completed the circuit in 4:46:10 compared with the Bermudian’s 4:54:10.
The bike took the field through several villages and mountains in the heart of the Côte d’Azur, and included 5,000 metres in climbs, but it was one of the descents that Butterfield crashed.
He recovered sufficiently to make inroads over the marathon distance in 2:49:39 but not enough to hold off Victor Del Corral Morales, of Spain, whose 2:42:33 run over the flat Promenade des Anglais was the best in the field and helped him to nab the runner-up spot in 8:37:23.
Twenty-four hours earlier across the Atlantic, Duffy added to her burgeoning CV for 2014 with a sensational top-20 finish in the ITU World Triathlon Chicago.
The two-times Olympian, who has stepped away briefly from the Xterra Series events to build ITU points for a third crack at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, finished eighteenth out of 52 of the finest elite female triathletes in the world.
Her finishing time for the 1.5-kilometre swim, 40km bike and 10km run was 1hr 59min 45sec, more than four minutes off the pace set by the prolific Gwen Jorgensen, of the United States, who used a sparkling 34:14 run to win for the third time at this level in 2014. She also equalled the record with six ITU World Triathlon victories in her career.
“It was a tough welcome back to the ITU World Triathlon circuit,” Duffy said on her Twitter feed. “But I enjoyed every minute and was pleased to crack the top 20.”
Jorgensen surrendered more than a minute in the swim but was steady on the bike before reeling in the front-runners on the run.
Once she caught Helen Jenkins, of Britain, and the Japanese Juri Ide on the last of the four laps of the run, there was only ever going to be one winner.
The American idled along with Jenkins and Ide for a moment but when she picked her moment to kick, the race was virtually over to the extent that she was a yawning 20 seconds clear once she broke the tape in 1:55:33. Jenkins, a favourite for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month, was second in 1:55:53 and Ide third in 1:56:00.
Meanwhile, Duffy can content herself with having completed the ideal warm-up for Glasgow, where she will be an outside bet for a medal. She was out of the water not far off the lead pack in 21:01 before producing a 58:48 bike.
It was at this point that Duffy was in and around the likes of Jorgensen.
But while Jorgensen hared off in pursuit of the leaders, Duffy’s 38:23 run, which is not her strength of the three disciplines, left her a ways behind the podium-chasers, although well clear of the also-rans.