CAROLINE Steffen put her Hawaiian Ironman rivals on notice by winning her second ITU World Long Distance Championship in Spain yesterday.
Steffen, who divides her time between the Coast and her native Switzerland, won the title in a time of 6hr 4min 17sec to finish five minutes ahead of Denmark's Camilla Pedersen and Britain's Jodie Swallow.
It was her second world long distance crown in three years, after winning in 2010.
The victory maintained her status as the only non-British athlete to win the event in the past seven years.
Steffen, 33, made her move at the start of the second lap of the bike leg, then produced a strong run to claim victory before a vocal Spanish crowd.
"Of course I'm very happy. It's another title, my second one. I'm really glad I had a good race today," she told the ITU's Merryn Sherwood.
"I never saw as many people on a race course before. It was unbelievable on the bike and on the run."
The gruelling long distance event featured a 4km swim, a 120km bike leg and a 30km run, but it was Steffen's dominance on the bike that laid the platform for her win.
After winning the European championship in Frankfurt earlier this month, Steffen now heads to the Philippines for a 70.3 event, before making her final preparations for the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii on October 13.
Her best result at the famed Kona event, which is held annually, was second in 2010.
Meanwhile, Australian Chris McCormack put the disappointment of missing Olympic selection behind him by claiming victory in the men's race in Spain.
McCormack, 37, was left out of the Australian team in favour of Brendan Sexton, Courtney Atkinson and Brad Kahlefeldt.
A dual-Kona champion, McCormack incurred a 15-second penalty, which was served during the run leg, but still managed to charge to victory.
The veteran made up some ground during the bike leg to be sixth at the second transition, then took the lead on the third lap of the run and charged to victory in a time of 5hr 29min 47sec.
It was his first ITU World Championship win since 1997.
Spain's Eneko Llanos finished second, with Luxembourg's Dirk Bockel third.
1. Chris McCormack 05:29:47
2. Eneko Llanos 05:31:39
3. Dirk Bockel 05:34:54
1. Caroline Steffen 06:04:17
2. Camilla Pedersen 06:09:23
3. Jodie Swallow 06:12:48