Bart Aernouts of the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team has won today’s Ironman France. It is the first full Ironman victory for the seven-time half distance winner. Clocking in at 8:33:22, Bart Aernouts edged out Victor Del Corral (Spain; 08:37:23) and Tyler Butterfield (Bermuda; 08:40:56) for the win in Nice. While Bart celebrated his win in France, his Uplace-BMC teammate Sofie Goos finished fourth in Ironman Austria.
Bart Aernouts wins Ironman France
Bart started the unseasonably miserable and rainy day in Nice with a strong swim. He came out of the water in 11th position, just 2:21 behind swim leader Wiltshire. But of course Nice is all about the bike leg. The race features one of the most iconic and challenging bike courses in the Ironman circuit. Bart didn’t wait long to take charge in the chase group behind Jurkiewicz and Billard. On the Col de l’Ecre, about 70 kilometers in, he took the lead. But Billard was not far behind and when Bart slowed down a bit around the 100-kilometer mark, the Frenchman joined him. When Bart took a spill on the slick roads, Billard was gone, riding into T2 alone. However, Bart quickly caught him in the marathon. Despite a surging Del Corral, Bart was able to maintain a comfortable lead for a convincing first Ironman win.
Bart Aernouts had set his sights on Nice from the beginning of the year. “I am very happy I won here. I love this race. The irony is that I did the perfect race here last year and I finished second. This year I didn’t feel as strong and I still managed to win. I had a great swim though. I did what I had to do and was able to stay with the main group. I lost a little bit of time in transition because my chain fell off, but once I was on the bike I tried to push the pace. I stayed with the chase group for 25 kilometers and then I attacked. That went quite well, but after I had taken the lead I started to struggle. Maybe I overdid it a bit in the beginning. That is when Bertrand joined me again. And when I crashed about 150 kilometers in, Bertrand took off. I knew I could catch him in the run, but I wasn’t sure how far back the rest was. I wasn’t feeling great in the marathon, so I tried to pace myself well in the beginning. Because Victor was running fast, I pushed hard in the third lap and I think that is when he cracked a bit. In the fourth lap I tried to enjoy it all.
One for the team
It is my first Ironman title and I hope it is not the last. I am especially pleased I have been able to make a contribution to the series of Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team victories.”
Sofie Goos fourth in Ironman Austria (Klagenfurt)
Uplace-BMC athlete Sofie Goos also competed today. She finished fourth in the Ironman Austria with a 8:57:08 finish. Linsey Corbin took the title with a time of 08:42:42. Simone Braendli (Switzerland; 08:49:16) and Lisa Hütthaler (Austria; 08:53:20) completed the podium.
Sofie had traveled to Klagenfurt with a specific goal, but a less less-than-perfect preparation. A place in the top-four would likely secure a July Kona slot, but illness and a nagging hip inflammation had compromised her training for Austria. Still, race day had a good swim in store. Sofie was out of the water in fifth position. Once on the bike, she quickly made her way to the front. Around the 80k mark, Sofie had taken the second spot just seconds behind Hütthaler. However, she quickly started to fade and ultimately wrapped up the bike leg in fifth position, almost 6 minutes behind Corbin. Despite a difficult first 20 kilometers, Sofie was able to finish strong to move up to fourth place with a sub-nine hour finish.
In the end, Sofie was pleased with her race: “I knew that a top-four finish would be a tall order, but I really wanted to try. In the beginning, I thought I was having a super day. My swim was great and on the bike, I felt outstanding the first 90k. Then it started go downhill quickly. The last hour of the bike leg was awful. I was completely spent and I had to let quite a few girls go. When I started the marathon, I knew I was in fifth and that there was a big gap behind me. So I was hoping that if I ate and drank well, there would be a chance I could catch at least one girl in front of me. I haven’t been running much in training because of my hip, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel. The first 20 kilometers were hard. I felt like I was running uphill the entire time. But then I hit my rhythm and I was able to pass Csomor. I knew fourth place was in the bag if I was smart and maintained my nutrition. So in the end I am really happy, considering my doubtful conditioning. It’s been a tough season already; this is my fifth race. I am looking forward to some rest. After that, there is altitude training and Ironman Copenhagen in August.”
Results and pictures
Photos of Bart Aernouts in the 2014 Ironman France: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zbhivwhqhr78lbo/AACEHJFh6hm0AzijIDS3wrOxa
You are free to use these photos but please do credit photographer David Pintens
Complete results Ironman France: http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/athlete-tracker.aspx?race=france&y=2014
Official team photos of Sofie Goos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vx8avuftirqm0c2/AACIyS4fRawj8CzBt1D7w_vwa
You are free to use these photos but please do credit photographer Bert Stephani
Complete results Ironman Austria: http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/athlete-tracker.aspx?race=austria&y=2014
Team web site: www.uplacebmctriathlon.com
About the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team:
The Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team is the largest, most ambitious project in today’s professional triathlon. Ten world-class athletes race for Uplace-BMC: Corinne Abraham, Bart Aernouts, Liz Blatchford, Dirk Bockel, Will Clarke, Helle Fredriksen, Sofie Goos, Romain Guillaume, Ronnie Schildknecht and Axel Zeebroek. Real estate group Uplace and bike manufacturer BMC Switzerland serve as the team’s sponsors. Additional support is provided by: Shimano/Pro bike components, Pearl Izumi race and training clothing, Lululemon casual clothing, Continental tubulars, Giro helmets, Tacx bike trainers and drink bottles, fi’zi:k saddles, Sailfish wetsuits, Compressport compression products, Sands Beach Active for warm weather training, BMW Le Couter, Adidas Eyewear, Bakala Academy sports-scientific support, Etixx sports nutrition, Best Swim Centre, Sportoase pool and gym facilities, Assumax insurance and Scicon bike bags.