The Lower Austrian, Michael Weiss, was on the hunt for a podium finish in Sunday’s Ironman 70.3 Austria when a reoccurring knee issue held him back on the run bringing him to a 4th place overall finish. “There have been a lot of changes and challenges this season,” remarks Weiss. “Now the priority will be to resolve my knee issue and get back into peak-performance mode."
The 9th edition of Ironman 70.3 Austria was hosted in the beautiful city of St. Pölten, less than one hour from Michi’s home town, Gumpoldskirchen. The weather conditions were ideal and to be surrounded by home crowds, friends, and family was a perfect start to Ironman racing.
Weiss completed the 1.2 mile swim between two lakes, Viehofner and Ratzersdorfer, in 28:11 minutes, 14th out of the water. “Unfortunately, I was not able to stay with the lead group and swam alone for the most part,” reflects Michael. “Although I am not disappointed with my swim performance, I swam 46 seconds faster this year."
In true ‘Weiss-racing-tradition’ it was time to play catch up on the 56 mile bike. He powered through the main packs, posted the third fastest bike split, and moved up to third position going into T2.
Michael took off on the 13.1 mile (half-marathon) run in third place, closely followed by Jan van Berkel. The pair fought throughout the run, battling for the last podium spot until the final two miles when Michi’s knee would not let him go into the next gear. "I played it safe and held back in the end,” he admits. "The season is long and I’m taking no chances. "
Weiss finished 4th in 3:56:56, the win went to Andreas Böcherer from Germany, and Michi's mission for a home victory in Lower Austria will continue. “In St. Pölten I have finished second, third and fourth. Perhaps I will take the top spot next year on the 10th Anniversary!"
Further knee exams and therapy at IMSB Austria are scheduled and then it will be decided when and where Michael continues his season. The upcoming Ironman 70.3 Pescara is in question with Ironman Austria looking to be his next big target of the season. “There are still six weeks until Ironman Austria, I would like to use this time to recover, receive therapy, and train for the win."