St­ef­fen re­turns to old stamp­ing ground and se­cures three-peat

Multisport Mecca - - 70.3 Sunshine Coast -

CARO­LINE St­ef­fen cel­e­brated a home­com­ing of sorts at Iron­man 70.3 Sun­shine Coast, when she won the race for the third time, in the re­gion she lived in for seven years.

The Swiss racer, who now lives in New South Wales, pro­duced a de­ter­mined ef­fort amid the wet to stop the clock in 4hr05min43sec, just 35 sec ahead of Annabel Lux­ford, with Han­nah Wells al­most 4min be­hind.

“That course re­ally suits me. I love that hill (at Alexan­dra Head­land) in the run,” she said.

“I love it here. There’s so many peo­ple here, a whole net­work of seven years and com­ing back see­ing them all again ... it’s awe­some.”

The 39-year-old is in the midst of a come­back after wel­com­ing son Xan­der to the world eight months ago. It was her third race back.

Her first one, four months after Xan­der ar­rived, was a wel­come hit-out. She then fin­ished sec­ond at 70.3 Asia Pa­cific Cham­pi­onship in Cebu.

But the mul­ti­ple Iron­man World Cham­pi­onships place-get­ter stamped her re­turn via the Sun­shine Coast. “I was very happy with Cebu and I think that one (at Mooloolaba) I stepped up again,” she said.

“I feel re­ally strong but not quite speedy yet.

“It’s all about baby steps,” she said with a laugh.

“It took me eight months to get sorted but I’m in a good spot now and have qual­i­fied for Nice.”

St­ef­fen said her ap­proach to rac­ing had changed and she had a new per­spec­tive.

“It’s dif­fer­ent than be­fore. It was all about win­ning,” she said. “Now, if I win it’s a bonus. It’s the cherry on top.”

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