While most eyes were focussed on IRONMAN Cozumel 2021 because of a Norwegian in the men’s Pro race, there was another Scandinavian athlete recording some fast times and topping the winners podium in the women’s Pro race.
The fast Cozumel swim course saw 2019 champion, Carrie Lester (AUS), lead the charge into T1 with a speedy 43:12, but she was far from alone with another seven athletes all less than 60 seconds behind.
A little further back, Sara Svensk (SWE) was 3:48 down. A winner at IRONMAN Barcelona back in 2019 in a rapid 8:35, she would likely make progress on dry land with her weakest discipline behind her. Svensk had Great Britain’s Tara Grosvenor on her shoulder.
Experience counts on the bike standard
Dede Griesbauer (USA) is a familiar voice on the IRONMAN Live broadcasts, but at 50 years of age she’s still a fine athlete too. That is particularly true on the bike (she’s been the 12-hour TT World Champion). After 180km around the island of Cozumel and some slippery roads, Dede reached the dismount line first. She had just over a two-minute advantage over Lester with Svensk now up to third place (+5:05) and IRONMAN Lanzarote winner, Michelle Vesterby fourth (+6:37).
Dede, of course, had set the quickest bike split of 4:30:22.
Svensk secures speedy Swedish success
Lester cut almost a minute from the Griesbauer lead courtesy of a swift transition, and within the first 5km had caught the American. Was she on the way to a third full distance win of 2021?
If Carrie was to win, she would need to up her pace because Svensk was closing fast – so fast in fact that the catch was made at around the 15km mark. From there, the Swede was in control and would run on to ensure a Scandinavian double in Mexico, adding to the immense debut of Kristian Blummenfelt in the men’s race.
By the time the finish line arrived, Svensk had broken three hours for the marathon (2:58:02), on the way to a rapid 8:22:41. Aided by the fast swim, that is actually the fastest female ‘not at Challenge Roth’ time for the iron-distance. More evidence, not that it was needy, that Cozumel 2021 was a fast day.
Running even quicker was Spain’s Gurutze Frades Larralde, who was second earlier this season at IRONMAN Chattanooga. 2:56:03 was her marathon performance, leaving her exactly eight-and-a-half minutes down at the finish after overtaking Lester during the final 5km of the run.
While the experienced Lester did lose time with he 3:15 run, her consistency across the day ensured that she completed the podium.
Further down the finishing order, Italian Elisabetta Curridori did make it to the start line after all following her travel and bike crash traumas earlier in the week. She battled through the pain to finish the race in 11th position.
IRONMAN Cozumel Results 2021
Sunday November21, 2021 – Cozumel, Mexico~
2.4m swim, 112m bike, 26.2m run – PRO Women
1. Sara Svensk (SWE) – 8:22:412 Gurutze Frades Larralde (ESP) – 8:31:123. Carrie Lester (AUS) – 8:36:404. Joanne Ryter (SUI) – 8:42:595. Adriana Correno Cruz (MEX) – 8:52:586. Jen Annett (CAN) – 8:54:31
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