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Bart Aernouts European Champion Duathlon

23. April 2013

He's still got it. Bart Aernouts of the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team returned to his first love for a day and promptly took the Powerman European Championship Duathlon title this weekend. Finishing second, Rob Woestenborghs added to the Belgian success in Horst, The Netherlands. Andreas Stutz from Switzerland came in third.
The Belgians took the lead from the beginning of the race. Bart Aernouts, Rob Woestenborghs and Joerie Vansteelant were part of a large leading group during the first 15-kilometer run. But a little over halfway, it became clear that Vansteelant had not fully recovered his achievement last week in Fuertventura Challenge 70.3. The winner of last year's only Powerman in the Netherlands would retire from the race a little later. A leading group of seven started the 60km cycling in and around Horst. But the group was reduced to three in the first round: Aernouts and Woestenborghs worked together, accompanied by Andy Stutz. The three completed the rest of the bike leg together. Woestenborghs entered the transition area six seconds before Aernouts, followed by Stutz. The Swiss athlete, second in 2009 after Vansteelant, could not keep up with the running pace, leaving the two Belgians to fight for the title. Aernouts accelerated in the last lap and came in first after a fast 7.5k. The 28-year-old 2010 world champion now also took the European title. Rob Woestenborghs came in second six seconds later, Andy Stutz lost almost a minute.
After his victory in the Ironman 70.3 South Africa and his fourth place in Abu Dhabi, it's already been a great season for Aernouts. "Yes, it is going well," said the athlete from Antwerp immediately after his win, "but of course my main targets are later in the season. Still, this race was a nice experience. I had fun, especially taking the win. I was looking forward to it as it was my only duathlon of the season. I felt some doubt beforehand, because it's been a while since my last race and the field looked really strong. Also, I am not used to starting with a run anymore, but after five kilometers I settled into a nice rhythm. On the bike, I wanted to thin out the leading group and that worked out nicely with just the three of us remaining. We were definitely equally strong. Rob took a little distance with his rapid transition, but I managed to catch up with him quickly and after six kilometers I made my move. I didn't have that much on Rob because he was very strong today. My hat off to Rob Woestenborghs for a great race."
Final results:
1. Bart Aernouts - 2:40:34
2. Rob Woestenborghs - 2:40:40
3. Andreas Stutz - 2:41:27