In scorching conditions, with temperatures nearing 40 degrees, Alexander was forced to chase down eventual winner; Germany’s Sebastian Kienle but ran out of real estate over the 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run. Dual Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty (NZ) showed his class in this distance to round out the podium.
"I was pretty happy with my swim. I decided to push it - my hope was to keep the pace high. The first time I looked back at mile 10 there were eight bikes behind me,” said Alexander.
"It wasn't until Sebastian came through that it got serious. There were a few people in that pack who would have been happy with top five. It was TO (Tim O'Donnell) who went to the front and chased Kienle.
"In fairness to Sebastian, he rationed his effort really well,” added Alexander.
The best of the Australian women was defending champion Melissa Hauschildt finishing fourth, while Great Britain’s Leanda Cave won the women's crown.
Alexander placed himself in a good position in the early stages of the race, making up a 30 second deficit after the swim to be in the lead group on the bike.
Kienle made his presence known on the bike amassing a 3 minute lead over a classy chase group that included, Alexander Docherty, Filip Ospaly, Greg Bennett, Faris Al-Sultan, Christian Kemp, Andy Potts, Josh Amberger and Tim O'Donnell. But as Kienle extended his lead towards the end of the bike segment, Alexander also managed to whittle down that group around him.
On the run Kienle had a 2:49 advantage over Alexander, Potts and Amberger, a few more seconds on O'Donnell and Docherty. Alexander then started to claw back time to the German and dropped the rest of the field. In the end he simply ran out of miles and Kienle stormed home to win his first world title in a course record time – 3:54:35.
Jodie Swallow led out of the swim from Kelly Williamson, Leanda Cave and Meredith Kessler.
As in the men’s race the move came on the bike, with Cave methodically moving to the front and establishing a 30 second lead with 35km to go from Swallow and Heather Jackson, Hauschildt was a further 15 seconds behind. Cave then increased the pace, dispatching Jackson and extending her lead to 2:15 at the changeover.
The lead proved too much for the chasers to close down, Kelly Williamson the biggest movers through the field, running into second place from Jackson and Hauschildt.
Cave took the win and the 70.3 World Championship title. It was Cave’s third World title, having previously won the ITU World Championships in Cancun, Mexico in 2002 and the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Lorient, France in 2007.
"Everything today shocked me. I don't know where that came from - last weekend I sucked! Kelly Williamson is a bad ass on the run. To be honest, I thought she was going to win,” said a delighted Cave.
IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 70.3 LAS VEGAS - RESULTS
1. Sebastian Kienle (GER) 3:54:35 *
2. Craig Alexander (AUS) 3:55:36
3. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 3:56:25
4. Tim O'Donnell (USA) 3:56:35
5. Andy Potts (USA) 3:56:54
1. Leanda Cave (GBR) 4:28:05
2. Kelly Williamson (USA) 4:29:24
3. Heather Jackson (USA) 4:32:32
4. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:35:13
5. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:36:08