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Michael Raelert at the Ironman Hawaii, as a spectator
Michael Raelert at the Ironman Hawaii, as a spectator

Michael Raelert wins Ironman 70.3 Austin, Schildknecht a strong second!

27. October 2011

Successful comeback for Michael Raelert after lengthy recovery from injury, Schildknecht finishes immediately behind Raelert proving that his form would have been good in Hawaii.

How it unfolded

In the swim leg, Raelert built up a solid lead over the strong cyclist Schildknecht. The latter stormed into the lead with the day's best bike time, needing just 2 hours 5 minutes for the 90 kilometers. This was 4 minutes faster than Raelert, whom he had left behind. For once, the difference probably did not come down to the equipment; both athletes completed the bike split on the brand new timemachine TM01 with which they developed the basis for their top placings at the end of the event. The final half-marathon was then dominated by the German, who outclassed all his challengers with a very fast time of 1 hour 11 minutes. This performance enabled him to catch up to and snatch the lead from Schildknecht. The Swiss athlete cemented his podium placing with a sound run split to finish third with some distance to spare.

Comebacks in contrasting circumstances

For both athletes, the Half Ironman in Austin, Texas, represented a turn in their fortunes. For Michael Raelert it marked a welcome return to competitive sport, injury having forced him to miss out on all his major targets for the season (Ironman Frankfurt, Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Ironman World Championship). The outstanding German athlete demonstrated to the triathlon community just how well he has survived this ordeal with a performance for which he is renowned. Schildknecht, in contrast to Raelert, was able to celebrate his return to the podium after a temporary loss of form in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. The native of Zurich was eager for a good result in the Ironman Hawaii and a repeat of his world-class performance from 2008 (fourth place) on the back of a successful season with second place in the Ironman 70.3 Switzerland and wins in the Ironman Switzerland and the Challenge Walchsee. But on the day it counted, he was lacking the necessary good fortune and above all the right form, prompting him to retire a few kilometers into the marathon. Schildknecht's place on the podium in Austin demonstrated his good form, which doubtless also might have brought him a top placing in Hawaii.

Competition season not yet over

While winter slowly but surely arrives further up north, the two BMC athletes continue their competition season in warmer climates: Schildknecht will be participating in the Ironman Florida on November 5, his second appearance there after 2002, and with his current form the Zurich native should give an exciting performance on the East Coast. Michael Raelert, too, is expected to be among the starters in an attempt to demonstrate his improving form.