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Posted: October 23, 2006

Triathlon: World Ironman Championships - Stadler Sets Bike Record: Jones Dethrones Badmann

The Norminator sets the fastest bike split in Ironman history (4:18:23) - Photo: Lynne Bermel

(Kailua Kona) Germany’s Normann Stadler has won the most celebrated contest in endurance sports – The 2006 Ford Ironman World Championships.

The “Norminator” built an unassailable lead on the bike, setting the fastest bike split in Ironman history in 4 hours and 18 minutes. He fought off a hard-charging Chris McCormack of Australia on the marathon run to take Ironman’s sacred crown and collect the $110,000 winner’s purse. His overall time was 8 hours 1l minutes and 56 seconds.

McCormack crossed the line in 8:13:07 with defending champion, Faris Al-Sultan of Germany in third in 8:19:04.

Michellie Jones toughs it out on the run to take the overall title - Photo: Lynne Bermel

The women’s race also hotly contested. Michellie Jones, one of the most decorated triathletes in the world, used the same race tactics as Stadler to build an early lead on the bike, which she didn’t relinquish on the run.

It was a passing of the torch, as Jones denied six-time winner Natascha Badmann of Switzerland from moving one step closer to Paula Newby-Fraser’s record 8 wins here. Badmann, who talks of a spiritual connection to this island, didn’t have Madame Pele on her side this year and finished in 10th place in 9:38:52.

Desiree Ficker, a newcomer from Austin, Texas had the race of her life to finish in second in 9:24:02. Canada’s Lisa Bentley, used her superior running ability to run herself into third place in 9:25:18.

Michellie Jones toughs it out on the run to take the overall title - Photo: Lynne Bermel

After Sunday’s 6.6 earthquake, there was speculation that the famous ho’o mumuku winds would be howling on the bike through the 100-year old lava fields but the only wind the racers felt were from the NBC helicopter. Nonetheless, temperatures soared to 95 degrees during the run portion, which caused more than one competitor to suffer from Kona meltdown.

NBC will broadcast the Ford World Ironman Championship on Saturday, December 9 from 4-6 p.m. The two-hour special, a network television staple since the 1980s, has won 13 Emmy Awards over the past 14 years.

Germany's Normann Stadler, 2006 Champion, congratulates fellow countryman Faris Al-Sultan on his third place finish - Photo: Lynne Bermel

Top 5 Overall Men
Normann Stadler, Germany  8:11:56
Chris McCormack, Australia   8:13:07
Faris Al-Sultan, Germany  8:19:04
Rutger Beke, Belgium    8:21:04
Eneko Lianos, Spain  8:22:28

Top 5 Overall Women
Michellie Jones, Australia   9:18:31
Desiree Ficker, US	9:24:02
Lisa Bentley, Canada 9:25:18
Gina Kehr, USA	9:27:24
Katherine Allen, Austria  9:30:22

This article originally appeared in the Edmonton Journal

© Copyright 2006 Lynne Bermel

Lynne Bermel, a former world-ranked pro Ironman competitor, is a senior marketing & PR consultant living in Ottawa. She is also a freelance writer and TV sports show host. You can reach her at: lynnebermel@rogers.com.

You can access previous columns by Lynne at: LB_Columns


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