New Zealand champion Cameron Brown placed fourth in the Ironman Europe triathlon in Germany today.
Brown found himself cramping which prevented his trademark burst on the marathon, with young German Andreas Raelert producing a solo performance to win from race record holder Timo Bracht, 2007 world champion Chris McCormack and Brown.
Raelert decided on a brave move on the bike, opening up an 11 minute advantage over compatriot Bracht and 13 minutes on McCormack and Brown after the 180km journey.
While the chasers made inroads, the German was able to hold on to win in 8:05.15, five minutes clear of Bracht with a further four minutes to McCormack and four to Brown.
''The cramping was a bit of an issue and I got a slow leak on the bike for the last 60km so I worked a bit harder than I would have wanted,'' Brown said.
''But overall it was a really strong performance. I know I am in great shape and competitive now.
''It's been really hot here - over 35deg - so I will check everything now and work out while I cramped because that's never happened before.
''With 10km to go I hit the wall though and it was lights out. I would not have got near Andreas today. He was fantastic. But I am satisfied with the performance and it gives me confidence I am on track for Hawaii.''
It was not such good fortunes for fellow New Zealand champion Joanna Lawn who was the sixth professional but spent 20 minutes on the roadside waiting for assistance after breaking a spoke on her bike.
Lawn was six minutes down on the leader but well placed with the race favourites after the 3.8km swim. Australian-based Swiss Caroline Steffan, who Lawn battled at the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman in January, pushed clear on the bike.
The six time Ironman New Zealand winner bided her time, working through the field to second place less than seven minutes on Steffan. However she was unable to continue with the broken spoke, forced to wait for nearly 20 minutes for support and while she was able to return to the race, her challenge was gone.
German Sandra Wallenhorst moved up behind Lawn and ran down Steffan on the run to win in 9:04.27. Lawn pushed too hard early on the run looking for a miracle but paid the price and had to turn off the after-burners over the closing 15km on the run for sixth placing.
Results, Ironman Europe, Frankfurt (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run):
Men: Andreas Raelert (GER) 8:05.15 1, Timo Bracht (GER) 8:10.22 2, Chris McCormack (AUS) 8:14.43 3, Cameron Brown (NZL) 8:18.33 4.
Women: Sandra Wallenhorst (GER) 9:04.27 1, Caroline Steffan (SUI) 9:06.42 2, Yvonne Van Vlerken (NED) 9:10.21 3. Also: Joanna Lawn (NZL) 9:36.12 6.
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