Bart Aernouts (7:59:07) grabbed the victory in one of the most iconic races in the world. The Belgian took over the lead of the race on the run to take home the win at Challenge Roth. His teammate Maurice Clavel (08:04:53) clinched 3rd place in his first ever full distance race. Joe Skipper (GBR; 08:03:00) crossed the line in 2nd.
At the same time at the European Championship Ironman IN Frankfurt BMC-Etixx athlete Patrik Nilsson crossed the finish line in 3rd place.
Victory and a 3rd place finish for Aernouts and Clavel in Challenge Roth
The day couldn’t start any better for Maurice Clavel as he exited the water in first place. Bart Aernouts entered T1 in 17th position, 4’30 back of Clavel.
While Maurice was riding attentively in front of the race, Bart smashed his way through the field to pass the 38k mark in 9th place. Halfway through the bike leg Clavel led the big chase group, 1’10 behind leader Frommhold. Aernouts moved up to 7th place at that point of the race. He kept his eyes set on the front of the race as he built up his pace towards the end of the bike to enter T2 in 5th place. Meanwhile Maurice had taken over the lead of the race, due to a crash of Frommhold. Clavel decided to put the rest of the field under pressure and had opened up a gap of 2’ over Bracht at the beginning of the run. Aernouts put on his running shoes in 4th place, more than 6 minutes behind his BMC-Etixx teammate. He immediately found his great running legs. As a result the gap went down to less than 4 minutes after 14k, where Bart made a move to pass Bozzone for third. The Belgian kept pushing hard and moved up a spot again after going passed Bracht to take over 2nd place.
Clavel put the hammer down as well, but Aernouts was a man on a mission. With 15k to go Bart joined his German teammate to co-lead the race. Aernouts felt good and kept running his own fast pace to open up a gap in the next kilometers. Maurice kept giving his all, but had to settle for 3rd as Skipper past him in the last few kilometers.
Bart’s lead was never in danger as he controlled the race towards the finish. He grabbed the tape after 07:59:07 to put down a sub 8-hour performance. After the victory in IM Lanzarote 2 months ago, it is another iconic race win for the Belgian. Maurice crossed the line with a big smile on his face as he finished his first ever full distance race in 3rd place with a time of 08:04:53.
Bart Aernouts had trouble to believe he took the victory in Roth:
“Of course I am extremely happy with the result, also a bit surprised maybe. It was the first time in my career I started in 2 full distance races in seven weeks, so in a way it was all new for me.
I know I’m not the best swimmer, so I wasn’t in the leading group during the swim, but the swim felt acceptable. On the bike, it was tough. I thought Roth had a fast bike course, but today there was a lot of wind. The final part of the bike I felt good though. Once I had my running shoes on that good feeling continued and I knew a deficit of 7 minutes at the beginning of the marathon is still possible to overcome. Especially on this new run course, which is more difficult as the previous one, I felt I could make up time. In the end, I had to pinch myself to believe this was really happening.
It is amazing to win here in Roth, one of the most legendary races. I can confirm that I’m really impressed by this race and the atmosphere here.”
Maurice Clavel looked back at his race with a big smile on his face.
“It was a very hard race for me as it was my first ever long distance in my life. I tried to put a lot of pressure on the field during the swim. I swam in front most of the time. Then on the bike I tried to race smart in 3rd or 4th place. Frommhold attacked halfway on the bike and at 130K as leader of the chase group I tried to catch him, while chasing him I broke away from the rest of the field. Unfortunately, he crashed and I took over the lead. As I looked back I saw no one behind me. It was so crazy as leading man. I pushed hard and tried everything, but after 23k it was so tough. I struggled a lot, but I finished 3rd and I’m so happy about it.
Patrik Nilsson runs to bronze at the European Championship Ironman in Frankfurt
Patrik Nilsson crossed the finish line in 3rd place at the IM European Championship in Frankfurt. The Swedish athlete showed his astonishing running pace taking home the fastest running split. Sebastien Kienle (GER; 07:41:42) won the race as Andi Boecherer (GER; 07:46:07) finished in 2nd position.
No problems during the swim for Patrik Nilsson as he exited the water in the big chase group battling for 2nd, 1’ behind the leader.
On the bike a big chase group took form and Nilsson played things smart to settle in the bunch. Almost the whole day on the bike Patrik sat in and around 9th position. As he knew he had good legs he didn’t overdo things. The BMC-athlete jumped of the bike in 7th place, 7’ down on 3rd place.
In the early stages of the run Nilsson had to cope with the accompany of Tutukin as they both battled their way towards the front. At the halfway point the gap was still 6’30, but from that point onwards Patrik made the difference. He was able to step up his pace even more. With less than 10k to go the Swedish athlete made the pass over Lange to take over 4th place. Nilsson wanted more and put down the hammer even more. In the final 5k he made another pass and ran in 3rd place. He kept digging deep to cross the finish line after 07:50:16. An amazing sub 8-hour performance, thanks to an incredible running split of 02:40:58. With his 3rd place Nilsson secured his points to clinch a slot for Kona in October.
Afterwards Patrik Nilsson was very satisfied with his race.
“To finish 3rd behind Sebastien Kienle and Andi Boecherer is a result I never thought would happen. I tried to play it safe to get my points for Kona and with the running splits it worked out well. I’m ready for Kona and looking forward to the race right there.”