The article originally appeared on Trizone.

On an extremely hot race day Craig Alexander fell one short of retaining his 2011 title after a stunning bike leg by eventual winner Sebastian Kienle of Germany. We saw Kienle almost win the US 70.3 championship in April this year win a fast finishing Timothy O’Donnell only caught him in the last stages of the run to take the win. Kienle did the same race in April, slow swim, dominated the bike and ran solidly to almost get the title.

(Pro results table including splits below article)

“They told me I had to improve my swim because you can’t win it on the bike. Well I proved something different,” the German said.

“I took a big risk on the bike but you have to risk something to win it. I never had the feeling I had the title in hand until the finish line because just look at the people chasing me, the fastest in the world.”

Crowie is putting the final touches on his defence of his World Ironman Title and he felt he produced an honest defence of the world championship he won at this distance last year. “I had a strong swim, pushed the pack on the bike and think I had one of the quickest run splits. That’s a good performance in all disciplines but you need to be great to win a World Ironman Title. Sebastian was great today.”

The depth of almost 50 countries represented today means that there are no easy wins in this race in the Nevada desert. “After Sebastian’s bike display on this course I was pleased to get within just over a minute of him at the finish.”

Craig is good mates with Bevan Docherty and any day you can toe the line with a two time Triathlon Olympic medalist of his class is going to be a challenge. “Bevan showed his pace early and kept myself and the chase field honest for the first 2 laps of the 3 lap run course. As usual, Bevan gave himself every chance.”

Today’s result confirms the challenge in contesting world titles at both half and full distance Ironman events and Craig is looking forward to another 8hrs of racing in Hawaii against some of the same guys from today and the additional full distance Iron Man specialists.

Kiwi Bevan Dcoherty raced the 70.3 champs for the first time and came away with 3rd. Docherty is

“I really didn’t know what to expect. I am so new to this game I just wanted a good race. I managed to hold it together and I had a good race,” Docherty said.

“I knew if I did manage a good race I could get on the podium. There was a small chance I could win the race but Sebastian rolled the dice and was able to get away and we couldn’t even touch him.

“I was happy to end up with a podium in third. I still have a lot of learning to do though.

“The conditions were really not as bad as I was expecting. With the race starting at 6.30 in the morning the first two-thirds of the race were actually quite comfortable. The hardest was that last lap with the sun starting to come and the heat getting quite intense then. I had also cracked by that stage so the last lap seemed like and eternity. But the heat overall wasn’t too bad. I guess that is one good thing about starting the race at 6.30 in the morning.”

The heat was a huge factor in the race today with the run times obviously down on last year. In a good sign for Kona Crowie had faster swim and bike times than last year at Las Vegas.

Next Australian home was Josh Amberger. The very talented young Australian backed up his 7th last weekend at Hy-Vee with another 7th today. This is a great result for Amberger and shows that he is going to be the next big name in the sport. Amberger is a very intelligent young guy and has arrived at this point in his career totally on his own. With a team and some good sponsors around him there would be no limit to what he can achieve.

Part time Australian Bart Aernouts had a fantastic race to finish in 6th overall. Aernouts bases himself in Canberra each Australian summer under coach Darren Smith. Aernouts comes from a duathlon background and is building his swim still.

Richie Cunningham finished in 10th place with a solid all round effort. Cunningham would have wanted to post a faster run time but once again, considering the heat this as a great result in this field and a top 10 at the world champs is something that he can add to his resume. Cunningham has had two seconds before in this event.

One of the pre race favourites was Joe Gambles. Gambles had a solid finish in 12th overall but would have been disappointed with his result. Gambles is in preparation for Kona and he will take some good info away from today’s race with the heat playing a major factor.

Greg Bennett finished 16th overall with a run time much slower than we would expect. once again heat playing a factor.

Tim Reed had his first DNF. “From start of bike then onto the run I couldn’t stop cramping whenever I tried to go to race power. Great course. Next year for sure. I have to rethink lead up schedule though. 3 races in 4 weeks might have been pushing it. Sorry guys.”