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Potts, Carfrae Back on Top at 2011 Ironman 70.3 California

im70ca2011potts.jpgIt was a cloudy and cool day in Oceanside, California for today's running of the 2011 Ironman 70.3 California triathlon. Andy Potts and Mirinda Carfrae both win their third Ironman 70.3 California titles with their late stage surges over Rasmus Henning and Heather Jackson.

Andy Potts broke away from Henning with less than half a mile to go to wins his third Ironman 70.3 California title in Oceanside. He previously won the race back in 2008 and 2007; he did not race the event last year. Potts turned in the days best half marathon split of 1:12:17 to take the win. That was 20 seconds faster than Henning.

It was no surprise that Potts was first out of the water today with a 22:36 swim, well over a minute up on the chase pack behind him. He was out in front on the bike, but Ronnie Schildknecht took over the lead and led the men into T2. Michael Weiss finishes the day with a 2:11:54 bike split, the fastest of the day. Weiss lead the men out of T2 with the chase pack right behind him. Potts and Henning then took over the lead, racing side-by-side for most of the race until Potts pulled away at the end for the win, with Henning taking second. Forty-three professional men started today's 70.3 triathlon in Oceanside.

2011 Ironman 70.3 California Results:
Oceanside, California

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Andy Potts 3:55:49
Mirinda Carfrae 4:26:18
Rasmus Henning 3:56:07
Heather Jackson 4:26:28
Michael Weiss 3:56:29
Magali Tisseyre 4:27:22
Ronnie Schildknecht 3:56:57
Heather Wurtele 4:28:25
Jordan Rapp 4:00:29
Kelly Williamson 4:29:27
Paul Ambrose 4:00:49
Melanie McQuaid 4:31:03
Maxim Kriat 4:01:19
Kate Major 4:32:28
Chris Legh 4:03:03
Linsey Corbin 4:33:32
Maik Twelsiek 4:03:10
Dede Griesbauer 4:34:54
Matt Lieto 4:03:44
Desiree Ficker 4:37:03

Two-time defending champ Mirinda Carfrae was of course the pre-race favorite and she proved why today. It didn't matter that Dede Griesbauer was the first woman out of the water along with Kelly Williamson about a minute up on Carfrae. Or that on the bike course it was Melanie McQuaid and Magai Tisseyre who led the women most of the day out on the bike course and into T2. It's no wonder why Heather Jackson is on the Trek/K-Swiss Triathlon Team, she had the fastest ride of the day with a 2:29:56 split; she was third into T2.

Early into the run Carfrae was down 4:00 minutes to McQuaid and the other women out in front, but it proved to be not enough as Carfrae turned on her turbo run boost and slowly edged her way toward the front. Jackson, who took over the women's lead on the run and was on her way to an impressive showing late into the run, but Carfrae had cut the lead down to 30 seconds with 2 miles to go. In the end Carfrae's blazing 1:18:25 split on the run was just enough to pass Jackson for the win and her third Ironman 70.3 California title. Jackson finishes the day in second, only 10 seconds with Magali finishing in third.

Notable DNF's for the day include last years runner-up Matty Reed who was in 5th place late into run but pulled out.

Over 2,200 athletes participated in this years race, which featured 23 wave starts.

This is the United States season opener for the Ironman 70.3 Series. This year the season will conclude for the first time in Henderson, Nevada on September 11, 2011 with the Ironman 70.3 World Championship event.

Photo Credit: Rich Cruse from Rich Cruse Photography

Additional Race Coverage:
- 2011 Ironman 70.3 California Coverage and Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]
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