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Bart Aernouts wins Ironman 70.3 South Africa

20. January 2013

South Africa

20 January 2013 - Bart Aernouts of the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team has won today's Ironman 70.3 South Africa. Clocking in at 4:03:53, Bart beat out Ronnie Schildknecht (Switzerland; 4:06:23) and Tim Don (UK; 4:10:40) for the victory. With his first race of 2013, Bart made it a successful season start for the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team. Following Marino Vanhoenacker's 2012 win, this is the second year in a row a Belgian athlete takes the title. Teammate Axel Zeebroek had an off-day and finished 13th with a time of 4:27:31.

On the women's side, Uplace athlete Tine Deckers had to retire from the race after she lost her goggles in the swim. Defending champion Jodie Swallow (UK; 4:34:29) took the women's title. Susie Hignett (UK; 4:43:38) and Lucie Reed (Czech Republic; 4:44:19) completed the podium.

The Uplace men got to a strong start. Axel left the water in third position (23:50), seven seconds behind fastest swimmer Marko Albert. Bart was eleventh with a solid swim time of 26:45. On the bike, Bart mounted an impressive push forward. Halfway through the bike leg, he claimed second place, only to take the lead five kilometers later. At the start of the half marathon, he was two minutes clear of the rest of the field, with Schildknecht and Albert in second and third position. Bart would not relinquish that lead for the remainder of the race. Meanwhile, Axel was struggling on the bike and, suffering from painful glutes, lost time and his top ranking. He finished the bike leg in 16th. In the run, he managed to move up a few spots, giving him a thirteenth place finish.

Bart Aernouts was obviously delighted with his first win of the year: "Winning is always fun, for the team and myself. Starting the year with a victory both motivates and reassures you. With the birth of my daughter, my winter training was shorter and different than usual. I did a good training camp in Lanzarote in early January, but in the end I still had a lot of questions going into this first race. I am especially satisfied with my swim. I came out of the water with the second group, together with athletes that had always been stronger than me in previous years. That gave me a boost for the bike leg. I tried to move up as fast as possible, and when I had the lead, to move ahead of the rest. The half marathon was hard work, but I managed to complete a pretty constant race. Perhaps the saying is true and birth of my daughter Paulien did make me fly... " Bart will now stay in South Africa for more than two weeks of training. Next up for him is the Abu Dhabi triathlon.

BMC Switzerland is the new bike sponsor of the Belgian Uplace Pro Triathlon Team. After some very succesful years in duathlon, Bart Aernouts switched to triathlon. Insiders considers him to be one of the biggest talents in the sport. Aernouts participated for the first time at the IM World Championships in Kona last fall were he finished on the 11th place, also signing for the fastest marathon of the day.

Ronnie Schildknecht from the Swiss EWZ Triathlon Team completed the succes for BMC Switzerland with a solid second place: "It was a good day for me, I felt strong. It always a bit uncertain how the first year of a new year will but, but it turned out fine. Bart was clearly the strongest man in the race today, so congratulations to him."

Complete results