Ronnie Schildknecht finished 3rd in IM70.3 Oceanside, California after a great comeback. The BMC-Etixx athlete came back from 24th position after the swim to fight his way towards the podium and finished in 3:57:49. Lionel Sanders (CAN; 3:50:04) won the race as Chris Leiferman (USA; 3:53:15) took home second.
Ronnie Schildknecht started his day with a decent swim exiting the water in 24th place, a minute and a half back to the top 10 at that point in the race.
Once on the bike Schildknecht started to close down the gap. Ronnie brought the deficit to the top 10 back to less than a minute over the half way point. The BMC-Etixx athlete continued charging his way through the field and making up positions. The Swiss-athlete jumped off his bike in 11th, with a deficit of 1 minute over the top 5 and more than 3 minutes behind the podium spots.
During the run Ronnie was a man on a mission. Halfway through the half marathon the gap to the top 5 had come down to less than 30 seconds. With 7k to go Schildknecht closed that gap entirely, but he was hungry for more. He put down the hammer and gave it his all in the final kilometers of the run. He managed to pass a few more athletes to take home 3rd place. A great comeback race thanks to the 8th fastest bike split and an impressive second best run split of the day.
Ronnie looked back at his first race of the season: "To be honest the swim felt not that good, I had a good start, but then my arms got a bit heavy. I guess the first race of the season is always hard. I lost a bit too much time to the front of the race for my liking. Once onto the bike, same scenario, I felt ok but my legs did not feel great. I kept motivating myself with the goal to suffer as much as possible. Coming off the bike I was in 10th position, nowhere near I wanted to be. So I gave everything on the run. Fortunately my legs felt unbelievably good. I ran steady the first 10K and then I really wanted to real in the guys in front of me. I was catching up and gaining time on the other guys but to be honest - to get on the podium - I took 4th spot with 4k to go. An suddenly I saw Andy Dreitz just up the road. I gave it all to get on that podium, I was suffering so much. But to get on the podium is just unbelievable. I am very motivated and looking forward to the rest of the season. My next goal is Ironman Texas in 3 weeks time. I will stay here for another 2 weeks for training and then travel to Texas for the Ironman there."
Amelia Watkinson takes 5th at IM70.3 Liuzhou in China
A very solid performance by Amelia Watkinson saw her claiming 5th place at IM70.3 Liuzhou over the weekend. After becoming New Zealand Champion Triathlon at the start of the year, Amelia build in a recovery period followed by a long block of base training. Watkinson looked back at her race: "First race after a long block of training and it was a tough one. It was a cold start to the morning with 13° water temperatures and I exited the water in 6th. Fortunately air temperature was no where near as cold and I managed to push up to 4th off the fast flat bike leg. I held strong form in the run to finish 5th. It was good to push the body to a new level after 7 weeks of base training and looking forward to getting into the rest of the season. It was a motivating race, plenty more work to do before heading to Europe next month.