LIUZHOU, South China, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Triathlon glamour couple and hot favorites Brad and Radka Kahlefedlt finished 13th and second in men's and women's race respectively at China's 70.3 triathlon season-opener in Liuzhou on Saturday, failing to repeat a sweep of titles at 2016 Chinese event.
The men's race was won by Britain's Tim Don, a three-time Olympian who had received a three-month suspension in 2006 for missing three out-of-competition doping tests.
South American Jeanni Seymour, winner in a 2016 Chinese race in Xiamen, took the women's crown, beating Czech Radka Kahlefedlt by over 31 seconds.
Radka married his Australian coach and boyfriend Brad after the two won the Hefei races in last October. Expectations were high that they both would take the champion trophies to their Sunshine Coast home.
Competing in a city known as a lush, mountainous paradise in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Xiamen champion Don built on his lead on swimming and cycling to storm home first in 3:37:44, a new record for any Chinese 70.3 races.
American Jesse Thomas came second in 3:40:59, ahead of his compatriot Patrick Evoe who stopped the clock at 3:46:37.
Seymour finished the women's race in 4:08:08, ahead of Radka (4:08:39) and American Haley Chura (4:10:58).
Brad and Radka Kahlefedlt have been trying to prove racing and marriage can complement each other despite an earlier failed marriage by Brad.
Brad divorced Emma Moffatt just three months out from their shot at the 2012 Olympic glory.
Ironman 70.3, also known as a "Half Ironman," is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the Wanda-owned World Triathlon Corporation (WTC).
The Florida-based company, bought by China's Wanda Group in 2015, organizes, promotes and licenses the Ironman Triathlon, Ironman 70.3, the 5150 series of triathlon races and several cycling, running and multi-sports events.
With two successful Ironman 70.3 races held in Hefei and Xiamen in 2016, which attracted athletes from over 100 countries and regions, the 2017 Ironman 70.3 calendar has three new cities on board - Liuzhou, Qujing and Chongqing.
Saturday's races began with a swim in the Liu River, cutting right through the center of the city. Spectators had the unique opportunity to watch the race from the elevated banks of the river and the nearby bridge. Athletes exited the water to transition next to beautiful Broom Hill Park.
The bike course took riders north out of the city following the river for 35 kilometers before crossing west through the city to begin the second loop. Athletes enjoyed "incredible views", as Tim Don put it, as they paralleled the Liu River on this rolling course with smooth, clean road surfaces.
The run course offered athletes a chance to see the scenes of the city as they completed two loops through downtown Liuzhou, along both banks of the Liu River. The final stretch brought competitors down the Wenchang Building Complex with the Liuzhou cityscape providing the backdrop to the finish.
Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou had 30 qualifying slots for the 2017 Ironman World Championship and 50 qualifying slots for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.