Monday, May 7, 2007

Andersson, Lavelle Claim Wildflower Titles

LAKE SAN ANTONIO RESORT, California - Under sunny and cooler than usual skies, two new champions were crowned at the Wildflower half-Ironman on Saturday. Both winners, Bjorn Andersson and Becky Lavelle, used killer bike splits en route to their first victories at the North American classic.

Andersson took full advantage of the absence of Bozzone and other perennial favorites including Simon Lessing, Chris McCormack, and Craig Walton, to ride away from 2006 runner-up Chris Legh. The Swede, whose name means "Bear" in his native Swedish tongue, broke the 56-mile bike course record set in 2003 by former professional cyclist and Ironman Lake Placid winner Steve Larsen, riding a blistering 2:15:05 split to better the old mark by 33-seconds.

It is not unusual to see Andersson arrive into T2 with an advantage on his competition, but it always remains to be seen which of his bipolar run-styles will surface over the final leg. According to Jason Goldberg, Andersson's coach and owner of FIT Multisports, Andersson spent the early spring months cycling in preparation for the Tour of Belize, in which he won two stages and wore the race leader's yellow jersey, and more recently training with long, hilly runs in order to minimize his time losses.

"He scorched the bike at South Africa, but he had no run fitness," said Goldberg. "With his long and hilly runs he can maintain consistency and hold off a great runner like Chris (Legh) and lose only four minutes and not five, which should usually be enough for him to win," explained his coach.

His training time spent at the founder's house paid off and Andersson held off a fast-charging Legh to capture his first Wildflower crown in a slower than usual winning time of 4:07:53. Legh ran out of room and hit the chute in 4:08:21 and recent University of Montana grad and Durango, Colorado resident, Ben Hoffman rounded out the podium just over five-minutes behind Legh.

For more on the triathlon's Woodstock weekend, go to:
1. Bjorn Andersson (SWE) 4:07:53
2. Chris Legh (AUS) 4:08:21
3. Ben Hoffman (USA) 4:13:32
4. Joe Gambles (AUS) 4:14:45
5. Timothy Marr (USA) 4:15:02

1. Becky Lavelle (USA) 4:35:19
2. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 4:38:14
3. Kate Major (AUS) 4:42:26
4. Alexis Waddel (USA) 4:42:52
5. Erin Ford (USA) 4:46:47

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