2 March 2013 – Bart Aernouts of the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team has finished fourth in today’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, one of the most prestigious long distance races. Bart finished his third full triathlon in 6:48:13. Fellow Belgian Frederik Van Lierde won the race in 6:41:01. Eneko Llanos (Spain; 6:45:02) and Tyler Butterfield (Australia; 6:47:49) completed the podium.
Melissa Hauschildt (Australia, 7:20:29) was the fastest pro woman. Caroline Steffen (Switzerland; 7:23:53) and Michelle Vesterby (Denmark; 7:27:52) finished second and third respectively.
A fairly typical race start left Bart with significant time to make up after the swim. He came out of the water in 16th position, (39:43) more than four minutes behind fastest swimmer Daniel Halksworth (35:16). On the bike, Bart set his sights on moving up. After 150 kilometers, he was in fifth place, trailing the leading group by just over a minute. And then the lights went out for Bart. In the last 50 kilometers, he lost more than six minutes. He started the 20-kilometer run trailing by almost eight minutes. It wasn’t until the very end of the race that Bart managed to move up again. Under a blazing sun, he finished 24 seconds shy of a spot on the podium.
Bart found himself a place in the shade to reflect back on his first Abu Dhabi International Triathlon: “The heat and the wind make this a tough race. But completing it by myself from start to finish was actually the hardest. It’s not that my swim was bad. I could not keep up with the leading group, but those guys simply swim too fast for me. On the bike, I gave it my all. That went well for a long time. After 150 kilometers, I saw the leading group riding just in front of me. And then all of a sudden it was all over. Maybe I didn’t get enough nutrition in or I simply overspent my energy. But I was willing to take the risk. If you manage to catch up, everything is possible. In hindsight though, Frederik simply was too strong today. In any case, once you start seeing spots, those last 50 kilometers become very tough mentally and physically. In continued to struggle in the first part of the run, but then I got through it. In the end, I am pleased with this result. It was only my third long distance race. You have to be happy with a result like this in a race with such a strong field. I feel I have made real progress in the bike leg. And after the Ironman Nice, my next full distance race, I have the rest of the year to prepare for the Ironman Hawaii.”