Day One of the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship 2017 was dedicated to the women. Day Two was the test for the best men in the world.
The Professional ranks included young Drew Scott (the son of 6-Time IRONMAN Champion Dave Scott) and seasoned vets like Sebastian Kienle (the 2014 IRONMAN World Champion and a 2-Time IRONMAN 70.3 Champion for victories in 2012 and 2013).
Drew Scott with Dad, Dave Scott.
The day was initiated with the National Anthem once again played by a bluegrass band with a salute by the Marines.
And they're off...
Everyone has their prerace picks for who they thought would be the champion at the end of the day. This was mine.
Javier looked strong in transition. But looks mean nothing. No one was going to just let Gomez have it without a fight. Names like Tim Don from the UK and US Pro Ben Kanute would end up being two of the many who kept the pressure on all day.
Over 50 Professional Men were vying for the title.
Gomez in transition...
All were moving like lightening...
Including eventual third place finisher Tim Don.
A very challenging bike would give lots of time before these shoes got used.
It would also give Ben Kanute time to open up a huge gap on the field that expanded to over 4-minutes.
The chase include all the big hitters including Tim Don, Sam Appleton, Sebastian Kienle and of course Javier Gomez.
At first it looked like Kanute had it wrapped up. But with a guy like Gomez in pursuit, it's never over until the finish line is crossed.
Everyone was in agreement that the two day format was a great innovation at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, Dave Scott included.
Fans got ready to greet the champion at the finish line along with the press and yesterday's IRONMAN 70.3 Champion in the women's race, Daniela Ryf.
In the end it was all Gomez. Javier pulled back the gap and reversed it winning over Kanute by a margin of 1:21 after posting a half marathon split of 1:10:30. Indeed an impressive and emotional effort.
Ben Kanute having an impressive day finished in second.
Tim Don, who set the record for the fastest IRONMAN in history earlier this season with a 7:40:23, came across in third.
One. Two. Three. Celebrate!
Javier Gomez: the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion and Rock Star!
Athletes of all ages were welcomed in each with a story to tell from their day at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship here in Chattanooga, TN.
See you next year at Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa for the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship!