BOLTON, ENGLAND // It must be hard to make a lasting first impression at a high-performance sport outfit like the Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team.
Even more when, just a week before, the captain Faris Al Sultan set the bar with a dominant performance to win the Frankfurter Sparkasse European Ironman Championship.
But Kristin Moller, the 28 year old German, announced her arrival on the team in some style, smashing the Ironman UK female course record en route to her debut win in the north west of England.
It is the third Ironman win for Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team this season after the Briton Rachel Joyce clinched victory in Lanzarote in May with a compelling wire-to-wire victory.
It now means that half of the six-person Abu Dhabi team have automatically qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, this October — a significant achievement in its own right.
"My entry in the UK race was a last minute decision as I was unable to compete in Ironman Europe last week due to a bike fault. It is really funny how these things work out." Moller said, whose previous best Ironman finish was second in last year's Wisconsin, USA event.
"It was a hard race but it felt good, especially on the run. That was faster than I thought for sure."
It was not all easy going for the German, as her opening swim saw her lose vital minutes from fellow countrywomen, Diane Riesler, and the defending champion Yvette Grice who led coming out of the water.
Widely regarded as one of the toughest bike legs on the Ironman circuit, the course in Bolton provided a stern test for Moller, who chose to keep her strength for her favoured run leg.
Her strategy paid off, as the former marathon runner powered past then leader Riesler, with a split time almost equalling that of record breaking male elite, Aaron Farlow of Australia, to finish in a stunning 9 hours 19 mins and 4 secs - six and a half minutes ahead of the chasing female pack.
Overall Women Results - Ironman UK
1 Kirsten Moeller (GER) 9:19:04 * new course record
2 Diane Riesler (GER) 9:25:41
3 Yvette Grice (GBR) 9:37:32
4 Joanna Carritt (GBR) 9:59:20
5 Claudia Johnston (SUI) 10:07:55 * F35-39
6 Elizabeth Hutson (GBR) 10:12:31 * F30-34
* With agency