Will Clarke finished 2nd at IM UK in a time of 8:47:03. With that performance the British athlete clinched his slot for Kona. His BMC-Etixx teammate Romain Guillaume had to withdraw from the race after a crash on the bike. Cyril Viennot (FRA; 8:41:07) took the victory, with Kirill Kotsegarov (EST; 8:48:16) completing the podium in 3rd. On Saturday Amelia Watkinson took the victory in Ocean Lava Triathlon in Lanzarote. The BMC-Etixx athlete made her move on the bike to secure her win at the Olympic distance event in the capital city.
Pushing his limits
The day started perfect for the two BMC-Etixx athletes. Guillaume and Clarke exited the water in 2nd and 3rd position just a few seconds behind the leader. Once on the bike Romain immediately took control of the race opening up a gap. Will rode attentively in the chase group and settled for 3rd. Just before halfway on the bike Romain suffered from a crash and had to withdraw from the race. Meanwhile Will kept riding in front of the chase group, battling with Wiltshire for 2nd behind leader Viennot. With 40k to go Will stepped up his pace and built up an advantage over 3rd place. He reached T2 in 2nd position just over 8’ behind leader Viennot, but Clarke had to take a 5-minute penalty to start the run in 4th place, 13’ down.
In the opening 5k of the marathon the BMC-Etixx athlete immediately found his fast running rhythm and moved up to 3rd place. He was 1’10 back of Kotsegarov in 2nd at that point of the race. At the 11k mark that difference had grown to 1’45, but Will ran a smart race to reduce his deficit back to 1’ with 15k to go. In the final 5k he was only 30” down. Clarke kept putting the hammer down, pushed his limits and made the pass for 2nd place in the final kilometers of the run. Finishing the race in 2nd place, Will secured his qualification slot for Kona.
Despite Bolton being a hard course, Will Clarke was satisfied with his 2nd place performance.
“A savage day out today. I came away with 2nd place, so I am really happy. I was going for the win, but Viennot was too strong for me today for sure. I soon figured out that it wasn’t my sort of course. It was a little bit too hard with slow, sticky roads, hilly on the run… I prefer faster courses where I can get in my rhythm. I am more a speed athlete. I had a real hard battle for 2nd with Kotsegarov. There were numerous times where the gap was 1 minute and numerous times I was trying to close it, but I didn’t make up time. All of a sudden, after giving up 4 or 5 times, I was able to do it. I’m really pleased with my race, because I managed to kick hard in the last 3k. I think my best kilometer split was my second to last one, where I ran 3:24. I really attacked Kotsegarov hard, I cracked him and managed to get that second place. To do that in Bolton, with all my home fans watching, was an amazing feeling. It was a really savage course, so I’m super tired now, but once that is calmed down, I’ll be really satisfied with this result.”
Amelia Watkinson wins Ocean Lava Triathlon Lanzarote
After an injury sidelined her for a few weeks last monts, Amelia Watkinson is back on track taking the victory at Ocean Lava Triathlon in Lanzarote. Watkinson came 4th out of the water and went on to dominate the bike leg. She controlled the race on the run, keeping the lead throughout the hot 10km run along the Arrecife promenade.