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Potts Repeats & McQuaid Wins Ironman 70.3 California

im703capotts12.jpgAgain, an exciting day of triathlon racing in Oceanside, California opens up the 2012 Ironman 70.3 Series season in the US as Andy Potts and Melanie McQuaid win today's 2012 Ironman 70.3 California event. Potts led from start to finish winning his 4th Ironman 70.3 California title. He knows this race extremely well having won here in 2007, 2008 and last year. McQuaid, known for her XTERRA racing wins only her 2nd Ironman 70.3 title against a good field of women.

It was no surprise that Potts was first out of the choppy water today, the fast swimming freak emerged wearing the new TYR Freak of Nature wetsuit in a time of 22:48. He was well over a minute up on the chase pack behind him leading out of T1. He stayed out in front, even extending hid lead on the chase pack behind him. Late into the bike segment Potts still held the lead but several pros were closing in on him including Leon Griffin, Paul Ambrose and Richie Cunningham. Several of the men in the chase pack of course had faster bike splits chasing Potts down, including Matt Lieto who was recorded as having a 2:11:57 time vs Potts 2:13:08.

Potts used his two-minute lead out of T2 to fend off the chase pack that also included a charging Jesse Thomas. That faded and leads to Potts defending his 2011 title. Late in the run, 39-year old Cunningham passes Thomas for second, with Jesse finishing in 3rd.

2012 Ironman 70.3 California Results:
Oceanside, California - March 31, 2012

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Andy Potts 3:54:03
Melanie McQuaid 4:19:13
Richie Cunningham 3:55:11
Heather Jackson 4:21:57
Jesse Thomas 3:55:22
Meredith Kessler 4:23:40
Leon Griffin 3:57:03
Rachel McBride 4:26:01
Paul Ambrose 3:59:41
Linsey Corbin 4:29:46
Matty Reed 4:00:38
Lesley Paterson 4:31:50
Chris McDonald 4:00:48
Rachel Challis 4:34:34
Ben Hoffman 4:01:29
Beth Walsh 4:35:21
Stephen Kilshaw 4:02:33
Amber Ferreira 4:38:54
Matt Lieto 4:02:37
Haley Cooper-Scott 4:39:32

im703camcquaid12.jpgMeredith Kessler led the women of out the swim with almost a two-minute advantage. She used that lead to try and open the gap even more on the other women early into the bike. The chase was on for the other pro women, who eventually caught up to Kessler. Around mile 25 McQuaid moved into the front of the women's race, with Rachel McBride also passing Kessler. At that point Linsey Corbin was in 4th at 2:45 behind. Melanie McQuaid proved that she can ride on the roads every bit as fast as she can ride on the trails, even passing 2 pro men up one of the climbs. From there she cranked it all the way to T2. She had the second fastest women's bike split in last year race at 2:30:49 and today cranked out a 2:22:44.

The 3x XTERRA World Champ took a four-minute lead onto the run course. That lead was just enough against a fast running Heather Jackson who tried to run her down with a run split that was four-minutes faster but in the end it was McQauid who crossed the finish line in first. For the second year in a row, Jackson finishes in second place. Kessler eventually holds on and finishes in 3rd place.

This was the continental United States season opener for the 2012 Ironman 70.3 Series. The season will conclude in Henderson, Nevada on September 9, 2012 with the Ironman 70.3 World Championship event.

Additional Race Coverage:
- 2012 Ironman 70.3 California Coverage and Athlete Tracker [via Ironman.com]

Photo credits: Larry Rosa, endurapix.com

Check out our 2012 Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Results Grid where at a glance you can see the top three professional triathletes that made the podium at each of the Ironman 70.3 Series races around the world.
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