2017: a decade of involvement in the sport of triathlon for the international pro triathlon team;
BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace outlines ambitious targets and presents team roster for 2017
9 athletes confirmed, 8 nations represented, four new faces
BMC Switzerland commitment continues with extension of partnership
Liz Blatchford expects first baby in June
It was nearly a decade ago in 2008 that Uplace, as founding partner, made the first steps into the sport of triathlon. Since then, the team has continued to grow and has gone from strength to strength to become one of the leading international triathlon projects. Next year will be the 10th season for the Belgian based international triathlon team. General Manager Bob De Wolf reflects: “It is amazing to look back and see where we have come from. It is fantastic to be able to continue building on such a great project and knowing that next year will be the 10th season is just amazing. The engagement for 2016 and 2017 of BMC Switzerland and Etixx as key sponsors has been a crucial step in the development of the team. It enabled us to set new goals and to build on this legacy. It is our ultimate ambition to win the World Championship Ironman in the coming years. I am therefore incredibly proud and grateful to be able to announce the extension of our partnership with BMC Switzerland through to the end of the 2018 season, enabling us to continue building towards these ambitious targets. The continuation of Etixx’ engagement next season combined with the commitment of BMC to extend its partnership in 2018, allows the team to continue to grow and create a real legacy in the triathlon sport.”
Three-year plan to medal at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii
David Zurcher, CEO BMC Switzerland, is extremely pleased to continue and extend a very constructive partnership for the next couple of years: “We are very proud to be able to continue to support the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team through to the end of 2018, not just because they are excellent partners and athletes, but because they share our vision and values too. We believe that top-class results, at any level, don’t happen on their own. It takes immense teamwork and a reliable support structure for athletes to be able to give their absolute best. With this in mind, having BMC-Etixx as a member of our family of professional racing teams, is a mutually beneficial relationship. BMC has been a force to be reckoned with on the road for years thanks to our investments in the development of some of the best road bikes out there, and the success of the BMC Racing Team, but we recognize huge potential in triathlon. We have completely re-designed the Timemachine 01 to meet the needs of triathletes and we expect the BMC-Etixx Team to increase our visibility greatly among this target group. In turn, the team benefits from having the most technologically-advanced aero bikes at their disposal. We are especially looking forward to the new Timemachine being part of the winning formula in major Ironman events over the next couple of years.”
Team line-up confirmed
Since the launch of the international Team in 2014 the results have been outstanding with the team finishing on the podium in nearly 50% of the races. In the last three seasons the BMC-Etixx athletes won a total of 42 races and finished on the podium in 97 of them. This includes 6 continental championship titles (IM European Championship Frankfurt, IM70.3 European Championship Wiesbaden, IM Asian Pacific Championship Melbourne, 5150 US Pro Championship Hy-vee, IM70.3 Latin American Championship Brazil, IM70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain), a podium finish at the World Championship Ironman in Hawaii and victories in a number of the most prestigious races on the calendar (including wins in IM Lanzarote, IM Nice, IM Cozumel, IM Cairns and 2 x IM Zurich). Bob De Wolf, General Manager of the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team, indicates: “The results of the last 3 years have been outstanding. I am not going to deny that last year’s results have been less impressive then the years before but in the grand scheme of things the past 3 seasons have been exceptional in terms of results. It was our clear ambition to be a leading team in long distance triathlon and I am incredibly pleased with what our athletes and staff have achieved in those years. We continue to set out very ambitious targets for the years to come and I am therefore very proud and pleased with the team line up we have confirmed for next year. Confirmed athletes are: Bart Aernouts (BEL), Liz Blatchford (AUS), Will Clarke (UK), Maurice Clavel (GER), Romain Guillaume (FRA), Patrik Nilsson (SWE) Emma Pallant (UK), Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) and Amelia Watkinson (NZL).”
Team roster 2017:
Bart Aernouts (BEL): European Champion IM70.3 2014, Middle East Champion IM70.3 2015, 12 x IM70.3 winner, winner IM Nice, 3 x top 10 IM WC Hawaii
Liz Blatchford (AUS): two time podium WC Ironman Hawaii, 3rd IM WC Hawaii 2015 & 2013, 3 x IM Cairns winner, multiple IM70.3 distance winner
Will Clarke (UK): multiple IM 70.3 winner, fastest British athlete at IM distance (7h59 IM Copenhagen), Beijing Olympian 2008, top 10 WC IM70.3
Maurice Clavel (GER): vice European Champion IM70.3 2014, multiple 70.3 distance winner, 8th WC IM70.3 2016
Romain Guillaume (FRA): winner IM Lanzarote, winner IM Mont Tremblant, top 10 IM WC Hawaii
Patrik Nilsson (SWE): 4 x IM winner, 2 x sub 8 hours IM in 2016, winner IM Copenhagen 2016, winner IM Barcelona 2016, winner IM70.3 Barcelona 2016
Emma Pallant (UK): 2 x World Champion duathlon, winner IM70.3 Weymouth 2016, 6 x IM70.3 podium 2016, 6 x Olympic distance wins 2016
Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI): 11 x time IM winner, winner IM Switzerland 2016, 4th WC IM Hawaii, 9 x time IM Switzerland winner
Amelia Watkinson (NZL): 6 x half distance winner 2016 (including 1 x IM70.3 & 3 x half distance Challenge), 2 x 5150 winner 2016
Four new faces in the team
Emma Pallant, Amelia Watkinson, Maurice Clavel and Patrik Nilsson are the new faces in the team and will join the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace from next season onwards. Patrik Nilsson had a phenomenal 2016 season, going sub 8 hours in 2 Ironman events. Nilsson won Ironman Copenhagen in the 8th fastest time ever recorded in an Ironman event and followed that with another record breaking, sub 8 hour performance, taking the win in Ironman Barcelona only 6 weeks later. At only 25 years of age, the Swedish athlete is one of the most exciting talents on the long distance triathlon scene.
Emma Pallant (27) is a former Team GB athlete, running qualifying times for both the Beijing and London Olympics on the athletics track. The British athlete only recently made the move to triathlon, bursting onto the scene in 2016. Pallant won IM70.3 UK, finished on the podium at 6 x IM70.3 distance events, extended her World Title Duathlon and won another 6 short distance triathlon events to make 2016 a real breakthrough year.
Ever since she turned pro in 2015 Amelia Watkinson (25) has been dominating the Asian Pacific Triathlon scene, winning no less than 9 triathlon races on the Asian Pacific calendar this season. That is a dream debut for the New Zealander, including wins at IM70.3 Busa Korea, Challenge Jeju, Challenge Kanchanaburi, ITU LD Weihai, Challenge Iskander Puteri, 5150 Subic Bay, 5150 Bohol and most recently Laguna Phuket Triathlon.
Maurice Clavel (28) started his career at the Olympic distance and made a very successful transition to long distance triathlon, becoming vice European Champion IM70.3 in 2014. Since then Clavel became a consistent podium finisher at some of the most prominent IM70.3 events in the world, including three second places in 2016 alone. Only 3 months ago Clavel finished 8th at the World Championship IM70.3.
Bob De Wolf adds: “We are incredibly proud and excited to work with such a line-up of talent next season. We are all really looking forward to the new season. I am very grateful we were able to add such an exciting mix of talent to the squad. The ambitions for next year are clear. We want to continue winning big races and challenge for a podium spot in Kona. I am very confident that we have the talent and quality in the team to do so.”
For Maurice Clavel it is an important next step in his career: “It’s a great honor to be member of this team and for me a next step to a higher level of performance. The BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team is the best organized team in the world of triathlon with a very professional support structure. Athletes and "the team behind" are working very well and close together. My goals for 2017 are a podium finish at the 70.3 World Championships and rocking my fist long distance race!”
Amelia Watkinson adds: “I am honored to be a member of the team and to endorse BMC and Etixx as well as our other partners on a global scale. I really value the disposition of a team culture and its dignified credentials. My choice for the BMC-Etixx team aligns really nicely with my passions and goals in the sport for 2017 and long term, creating ambitious aspirations, applying innovation and persistence, a strong support network and learning through the process together, in the pursuit of excellence. 2017 will be my second year of Professional International Racing. Having mastered a consistent season in Asia I will continue to grow my experience while striving to represent BMC-Etixx at the top of the sport. I will be spending some of the year in Europe to coordinate with the BMC-Etixx training camps and team members as well as incorporating the higher profile races into my calendar; such as 70.3 World Champs and the Challenge Championship.”
Patrik Nilsson agrees: “To be a part of the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team gives me a real opportunity in trying to get the best out of me as an athlete. To get the knowledge the team offers in training, testing, equipment and racing provides such a benefit and opportunity to bring the best out of you as an athlete. There are very few teams out there who are able to provide their athletes with such a set up and support. My main goal for 2017 will be the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. I am 25 years old and it will be my debut in Kona. To qualify, I will start my season with defending my title in 70.3 Barcelona and then compete at the 70.3 European Championships in Elsinore.
Emma Pallant is very excited about the up and coming season: “For me to be part of the BMC-Etixx Pro team means a lot and makes me extremely excited for the 2017 up and coming season. I have only been in the sport for four years and this year has been my first year of stepping up to the longer distance and there are so many areas that we haven’t been able to afford looking at so early in my career. I know I have a lot to learn and joining the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team can make a huge difference to my journey as a professional athlete. The BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team has proven results. Every athlete in the team is evidently enjoying the sport as well as getting the personal progression they are capable of. The team has a great network of sponsors and is headed up by a brilliant management team of passionate, supportive professionals. As I step into 2017, I am now looking to build on my podiums from last year, to be topping them more frequently and to put together the best possible race in the World 70.3 Championships, to leave no stone unturned. I will also be seeking to retain my World Duathlon title and look to compete in my first full Ironman.”
Liz Blatchford expects first baby in June
BMC-Etixx athlete Liz Blatchford is expecting her first baby in June 2017. The BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team will support Liz in this fantastic journey and be part of her comeback to racing later in the year. General Manager De Wolf adds: “Liz has been a phenomenal athlete for the team, not just in terms of results and performances, but also as a through ambassador for our partners and as a fantastic person to work with. We are delighted for Liz and her husband and very pleased to be able to support Liz in these very exciting times. It is Liz’s personal ambition to aim for a comeback towards the end of 2017 and we are fully committed to support her in this”.
“Glen and I are thrilled to announce we are expecting, due in early June”, adds Liz Blatchford. “Having a family is something we both knew we wanted in our futures so we are more than excited about what is to come. Obviously this means some down time from racing for me but my intention is to get back to racing in some form by the end of 2017. I have no doubt I am in for a whole new set of challenges I never knew existed, so it is lucky that I like challenges! I am very grateful of my team, BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace, who will be supporting me through pregnancy and beyond. The team managers and many of the other athletes have families themselves so when I told them our news, they were nothing but supportive and happy for us. I have no idea what to expect! What I do know is that I can’t think of anything better than sharing this life and lifestyle with a family, exciting times await.”