Lidbury just unable to defend 70.3 Ironman UK title on Exmoor
EMMA-KATE LIDBURY sliced almost five minutes off her 2011 winning time at the Ironman 70.3 UK on Exmoor but she had to give best to her old rival, Ireland’s Eimear Mullan.
Twelve months ago, Lidbury had rallied when overtaken by Mullan on the final run phase before claiming victory. This time, though, the Irish girl was not for passing after a quite spectacular bike ride.
She posted 2:53.38, by far the fastest bike split of the day Crickalde’s Lidbury had been desperate to defend her title at the muddy and punishing Wimbleball.
She got off to a near-perfect start in the swim, leaving the water just seconds behind the leaders. However, her bike ride left her slightly disappointed.
In contrast, Mullan tore into the bike section, taking four and a half minutes off Lidbury to set up a 45-second lead over her main rival, and from that point she never looked like coming back.
“I’m usually a strong biker, but Sunday was not my strongest bike day and I came into T2 in third place, about 45 seconds back from the two leading girls, Eimear Mullan and Holly Lawrence,” said Lidbury.
“In the last two races I’ve done this season I’ve led out of T2 with quite a comfortable buffer, so I suddenly found myself in new territory.
“I never stopped chasing for the win and never stopped being positive the entire time.
“It hurts to have lost, but not winning has taught me far more and I’ll be a stronger athlete for it.
“All credit to Eimear for a fantastic and courageous win.”
Lidbury has had a busy time already this season, successfully defending her 70.3 Majorca title in May, and winning the Challenge Fuerteventura. She will now take a short mid-season break to freshen up for the bigger targets ahead.
Principally, that is the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas where she finished eighth last year.