Ironman 70.3 Dubai offered many elite triathletes their first competition of 2021 in the searing desert heat.
The race proved to be an intriguing spectacle as a contingent of the world’s top stars fought for share of a $15,000 prize purse.
We have created an ‘Ultimate Dubai Triathlete’ for both the men’s and women’s races, made up of the strongest performers in each discipline.
WOMEN’S ‘ULTIMATE DUBAI TRIATHLETE’
Swim: Imogen Simmonds (26:31)
Imogen Simmonds, the Swiss athlete with a growing reputation, set a scorching time for the opening leg in Dubai.
The PTO World Ranked #17 completed the 1.9km swim in 26:31, exiting the water just ahead of a chasing pack which included eventual winner Ryf.
Five other triathletes completed the leg in under 27 minutes and the group was separated by less than 10 seconds, but it was Simmonds who came out on top.
Recording a rapid swim to lead the field into the bike leg would be the ideal start for our women’s ‘Ultimate Dubai Triathlete’.
Bike: Daniela Ryf (2:08:35)
By far and away the fastest woman ‘on land’, Daniela proved once again in Dubai why she is the PTO World Ranked #1.
It was far from straightforward for the Swiss superstar on the bike though, as she initially fell almost two minutes behind her compatriot Simmonds.
The 33-year-old was not to be deterred though, as she summoned all of her legendary power and acumen to overhaul Imogen by the end of the 90km ride.
The women’s ‘Ultimate Dubai Triathlete’ would begin the run having recorded a blistering time of 2:37:26 for the opening two legs.
Run: Daniela Ryf (1:16:50)
Daniela may have needed to exert more energy than she wanted to complete the bike leg ahead of the pack, but there were no signs of fatigue on the run. She was untouchable on the final leg.
She led from start to finish, completing the 21.9km in an awe-inspiring time of 01:16:50 – almost three minutes quicker than the day’s next best time.
Our women’s ‘Ultimate Dubai Triathlete’ would finish the race in 3:56:46, just eight seconds faster than Ryf.
MEN’S ‘ULTIMATE DUBAI TRIATHLETE’
Swim: Daniel Bækkegård, Andrea Salvisberg, Ilia Prasolov (23:21)
PTO World #26 Bækkegård was joined by Andrea Salvisberg and Ilia Prasolov as he exited the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
The Danish ace completed the swim in 23:21, but Salvisberg and Prasolov were hot on his heels, registering identical times. The trio recorded a pace of 1:13 per 100m over the 1.9km leg.
Bike: Paul Ruttman (1:52:57)
Paul Ruttman started the bike leg way down the field, but produced tremendous pace to power his way towards the frontrunners.
Averaging 47.81km/hour over the 90km course, he climbed up to 15th position, completing the leg nearly three minutes quicker than Bækkegård.
Ruttman went on to finish 10th after a strong run, asserting himself as one of the quickest ‘on land’ athletes.
After a rampaging bike leg, the men’s ‘Ultimate Dubai Triathlete’ would have recorded a time of 2:18:16 heading into T2.
Run: Rasmus Svenningsson (1:09:19)
Rasmus Svenningsson sneaked onto the podium in Dubai after edging past Salvisberg on the final corner into the finishing straight.
After starting the final leg outside the top 10, he had to produce a sensational run to achieve his podium finish.
Svenningsson duly supplied just such an effort, he was the only athlete to register a sub 1:10:00 time.
His time of 1:09:19 surpassed that of next best Bækkegård by some 41 seconds.
Svenningsson’s pace of 3:17 per km saw him overhaul Salvisberg and finish a matter of metres behind second-placed Filipe Azevedo.
Despite his dominant display, Bækkegård would come home 3:28 behind the men’s ‘Ultimate Dubai Triathlete’, who would register a notional 3:29:34.