American Timothy O'Donnell has claimed first-place at Ironman 70.3 Texas, winning the U.S. Pro Championship in a time of 3:47:40. Germany's Sebastian Kienle finished second, 24 seconds behind. In just his second professional race, Lance Armstrong finished the half-Ironman -- 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run -- in seventh place.
Ronnie Schildknecht (Switzerland), the first man to break eight hours at an Ironman race on North American soil (2011 Ironman Florida) came across the finish line in third place (3:48:49). Michael Raelert, despite suffering through a cold all week and a flat tire on the bike ride, came in fourth place.
The announcer declared just before the finish, "This is about as exciting as it gets in triathlon," and indeed it was, with the final mile of the run looking more like a sprint event between O'Donnell and Kienle than a near-four-hour endurance competition. The two athletes went back-and-forth over the last mile, exchanging leads and suffering through each other's attempts to pull away, both mentally and physically. It wasn't until the final turn before the finish that O'Donnell finally managed to surge away from Kienle, who collapsed after crossing the finish line just after his American rival.
The man with all eyes on him, Lance Armstrong, finished seventh, after getting pipped at the finish line by fellow American Jordan Jones. Armstrong was 15th in the swim, finishing just 22 seconds behind the first out of the water, Raelert. Armstrong rode with a group of leaders for the first 10 miles or so before making his move to take command on the bike. He pushed the pace and had the lead heading into the run portion of the race, but was quickly passed in the first mile. He managed to stay with the group of leaders for 11-12 miles, but eventually the pace proved to be too fast for the seven-time Tour de France winner. Armstrong slowed to a walk during the final mile and then lost a sixth-place finish when he was edged by James at the finish line.
Ironman 70.3 Texas Men's Results:
1 3:47:40 2 Timothy O'Donnell Boulder CO USA
2 3:48:03 0:24 3 Sebastian Kienle Hohenklingen DEU
3 3:48:49 1:10 4 Ronnie Schildknecht Samstagern CHE
4 3:50:08 2:28 45 Michael Raelert Rostock DEU
5 3:52:35 4:56 44 Stephane Poulat Anglet FRA
6 3:54:32 6:52 34 Jordan Jones Golden CO USA
7 3:54:32 6:53 5 Lance Armstrong Austin TX USA
8 3:54:55 7:15 48 Marino Vanhoena Jabbeke BEL
9 3:55:28 7:49 38 Jeremy Jurkiewi Nice FRA
10 3:55:43 8:03 17 Axel Zeebroek Samr E BEL