New Zealand's Torenzo Bezzone is becoming quite a force on the Ironman circuit.
After taking the title at Ironman Boise on June 1, Bezzone brought home another Ironman title Sunday at Ironman Kansas.
"The win's great," Bezzone said. "You never want to be anything but first across the finish line."
The 23-year-old Bezzone set the pace early, gutted it out in the middle and rolled to victory down the stretch, holding off Australia's Craig Alexander by three minutes.
"I expect to win every time," said Alexander, the 2006 Ironman world champion. "But give credit to Torenzo, he's one of the best in the world at this distance."
That distance is 70.3 miles to be exact -- 1.2 in the water, 56 on a bike and 13.1 more on foot. But it was the terrain and not the distance that had competitors talking after the race.
"We had no idea what we were in for, but it was great," said overall female winner Samantha McGlone, of Colorado Springs. "It hurt, as always, but it was great to be here in Kansas. It was beautiful and I'll definitely be back."
McGlone finished the race in 4:19.03. Bozzone finished in 3:56.06. He and Alexander were the only competitors in the entire 1,500-person field to crack the four-hour mark.
Although nearly all of the professionals who competed in Sunday's race were impressed by the Kansas conditions, the race was not without its downfalls.
One male competitor fell off of his bike on a downhill ride and broke his leg. He was lifted from the scene in a medical helicopter. In addition, rain and lightning forced race officials to call off the event early, meaning hundreds of athletes were unable to complete the 70.3-mile course.
Many, who came within a mile or two of the finish line, were left disappointed.
"I think they have to do it for liability reasons," said Jason Montague, of Milwaukee. "But it's a bummer."
For much more on Sunday's race, including complete results, a race recap and two pages of photos, see Monday's Journal-World.
For on-line results of all the athletes, log on to www.ironmanlive.
Earlier Ironman Kansas Update
The men filled with the most iron have crossed the finish line at Clinton Lake's Bloomington Beach, site of Sunday's inaugural Ironman Kansas 70.3-mile triathlon.
Terenzo Bozzone, 23, of Auckland, New Zealand, was the first to reach the end. Bozzone, who won Ironman Boise in Idaho last week, finished today's race in a time of 3 hours, 56 minutes and 6 seconds. His split times were among the fastest in all three stages of the race.
Bozzone finished the 1.2-mile swim in 27 minutes, 21 seconds. Only two competitors in the entire field had faster times in the water. He finished the bike portion of the event in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 21 seconds. Only two competitors in the field were faster on two wheels. And his 13.1-mile run time of 1:15.49 is the fastest recorded time so far.
In all, 10 others have joined Bozzone in crossing the finish line. 2006 World Champion Craig Alexander,. 35, of Sydney, Australia, finished second with a time of 3:59.59. He and Bozzone were the only two competitors to break the four-hour mark.
Alexander was followed by Leon Griffin (27, Boulder, Colo., 4:00.37), Daniel Bretscher (24, Greencastle, Ind., 4:03.28), Kirk Nelson (28, Longmont, Colo., 4:04.22), Courtney Ogden (36, Boulder, Colo., 4:05.26), Richie Cunnigham (34, Brookline, Mass., 4:07.53), Paul Ambrose (25, USA, 4:10.39), Andrew Hodges (24, Huntsville, Ala., 4:11.16), Alex McDonald (27, Durham, N.C., 4:12.04) and T.J. Tollakson (28, Des Moines, Iowa, 4:14.39).
In the female professional division, 28-year-old Taylor Pip, of Lennox Head, Australia, has led the entire way but has not yet crossed the finish line. Her split times of 28:40 in the swim and a blistering 1:46.58 on the bike course put her firmly in the top 15 of all competitors.
Earlier Ironman Kansas Preview
By now, the wet suits and trunks should all be dry.
As the more than 1,500 competitors of Ironman Kansas make their way through the day, the top contenders are in the final stages of the event.
What began at 6:45 a.m. this morning -- and even earlier if you consider prep time -- has progressed nicely under overcast skies and comfortable temperatures.
Male and female participants in all age groups were sent off in stages this morning, with a new set of 150 triathletes hitting the 75-degree waters of Clinton Lake every five minutes.
For most, the 1.2-mile swimming leg took between 20 and 45 minutes. From there, the athletes transitioned from water to land, hopping on state-of-the-art bicycles for a 56-mile ride around the lake known as the Iron Cross. The cycling aspect of the race reached the same intersection four times allowing spectators to see the action multiple times throughout the day.
After the bike stage, which took the top competitors between 2 hours and 15 minutes and 2 hours and 45 minutes, the race wraps up with a 13.1-mile run around the lake.
Competitors will finish at Clinton Lake's Bloomington Beach, the same place they started.
While those threatening to win the race are well into the run by now, several participants are still on the cycling leg of the event.
Race officials said they expected the top placers to begin crossing the finish line about 4 hours and 15 minutes after they began. The rest should reach the end in the three or four hours that follow.
For more on Ironman Kansas, check back with www.ljworld.com throughout the day.
Those interested in tracking the pace and split times of today's triathletes can log on to www.ironmanlive.com, where you can follow the progress of any athlete by bid number or last name.