Wily Atkinson grabs victory on Ironman finish line
IF Dan Wilson is looking for someone to blame for yesterday's gutting Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast loss - he can point his finger at Miles Stewart.
After three hours and 45 minutes of swimming, cycling and running Wilson was robbed of a dream half-Ironman distance (1.9km swim, 90km cycle, 21km run) debut when wily veteran Courtney Atkinson passed him just metres before the finish line.
"I know how Dan feels," a beaming Atkinson said after the race.
"There was a guy called Miles Stewart I used to train with and he used to do exactly what I just did to Dan every race to me and there was only one way to beat him.
"Miles could out-kick me 11 times out of 10; I had no chance."
Like Wilson, dual Olympian Atkinson came through the International Triathlon Union route before making a name for himself in the longer course event.
The Gold Coast-based triathlete took his lumps from former ITU world champion Stewart and yesterday proved that he learned his lessons.
After spending some of the year competing in off-road events, the challenge of a newcomer like Wilson, who competed for Australian in this year's Commonwealth Games triathlon, brought out the best in the 35-year-old.
"It can become a very boring race, four hours, if you just run (and) ride and tactics are nice in a race like that - it breaks it up," he said.
Most of the excitement came in the run leg with Atkinson and Wilson breaking away from the strong professional pack to have their own one-on-one contest.
Before that the race went according to the script with professionals Clayton Fettell, Brad Kahlefeldt, Casey Munro, Pete Jacobs, Atkinson and Wilson inseparable for the first two legs.
It was during the second lap of the run that Wilson and Atkinson broke free and began a battle royale, with Wilson seeming to take an unbeatable lead in the final 200m.
"I knew he was there," Wilson said of the final stages.
"I knew he was still there and I was just trying to stop him."
In the age-group races, Sunshine Coast's Scott Farrell completed the course in four hours, eight minutes and 12 seconds, almost three minutes ahead of the second fastest racer in the 30-34 group, Ricky Swindale.
Men's Top Five
1. Courtney Atkinson (3:45:35)
2. Dan Wilson (3:45:35)
3. Pete Jacobs (3:47:47)
4. Brad Kahlefeldt (3:51:22)
5. Luke Bell (3:53:25)