Marino Vanhoenackers Sets Personal Best at Ironman Austria


Marino Vanhoenacker (Oakley) set a personal best and broke the course record in Klagenfurt and Ironman Austria and blew away a competitive field …

“I had hoped for rain to go under eight hours, but I didn’t ask for it to be on the bike already,” Vanhoenacker laughed after the race. “It was quite dangerous. It’s not a really technical course, but there are three or four corners that you have to go really slow, and even going slow I found the bike was still shifting under me. There’s one turn that’s difficult when it’s dry, today I took it at the pace a grandmother would go on her way for groceries. It was much slower on the bike today.”

Even when he wasn’t going at his “grandmother’s pace” around the corners, Vanhoenacker found the slippery conditions to be a challenge. “On the really steep climbs the wheels were spinning, especially on all the paint that people put on the roads.”

The wet conditions couldn’t dampen Vanhoenacker’s enthusiasm one bit, though. He was thrilled to get another win here in Klagenfurt.

“I’m getting used to it, and, to be honest, I’m liking it a lot,” he laughed.

After chasing France’s Charly Loisel through the first loop of the bike, Vanhoenacker was surprised to see the leader on the side of the road.

“I was going to try to make up some time on Charly on the second loop, but I didn’t think I was going to catch him,” Vanhoenacker said. “He crashed on the first loop, which might have been why he got a flat 30 km later.”

Once he was in the lead, it was racing as normal for Vanhoenacker – he came off the bike with an eight-minute lead.

“I knew I had eight minutes on the guys, so I tried to run 2:48 pace, because I knew that to beat me they would have to run 2:40. I was on 2:43 pace early on, then I slowed down to 2:47 pace. Then I saw that I only had six minutes in Klagenfurt, so I pushed things a little bit to the 2:45 pace that I finished at. In the end I guess it was enough because eventually the guys dropped off that pace.”

To gain those two minutes on Vanhoenacker, Stephen Bayliss was tearing up the course here. He lost some time on the Belgian over the last 10 km of the run, but his 2:44 marathon was fast enough to easily get the Brit to the line in second.


Tess Weaver


July 15, 2008