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Ironman 70.3: Michael Raelert celebrates European title

13. August 2012

Double world champion wins in Wiesbaden with course record and clear margin - Second victory since 2010 a motivator for the WC in Las Vegas

Wiesbaden. Michael Raelert is the new Ironman 70.3 European champion. The 31-year-old double world champion over this distance won the European Championship in Wiesbaden for the second time since 2010. "I am very happy with my performance," said the younger of the two Raelert brothers. Not only did he convincingly beat Bart Aernouts of Belgium and the German Boris Stein, he also set a new course record of 4:03:58 hours. "It was a tough day, a really strenuous race," explained Michael Raelert after crossing the finish line in front of the Wiesbaden Kurhaus, "so I'm all the more delighted with this win. I'm glad I was able to bring the European title back home to the family."

Michael Raelert managed to lay the foundation for his second Wiesbaden triumph at an early stage, during the swim in the Raunheimer See. Having just returned from the Olympic Games, the world-class Russian athlete Ivan Vasiliev set a high pace in the first discipline. Placed 13th in the race at the London Olympics, he was the first out of the water after just 21:51 minutes, putting him two seconds ahead of Michael Raelert, who was the third person to leave the lake after the Frenchman Stephane Poulat. Michael Raelert then went into the lead in the transition zone and was the first competitor to start the challenging 90-kilometer cycle course through the Taunus. "It's a nice, very selective course and it was a strong field," said Michael Raelert later. On the bike he set the pace with Vasiliev, Poulat, the Spaniard Mikel Elgezabal and Aernouts, while the joint favorite Filip Ospaly of the Czech Republic fell back somewhat.

After 2:27:58 hours, Michael Raelert got off his bicycle behind the Spaniard Elgezabal and, after another quick transition, was the first to set off on his run towards the European title. Although Aernouts was hot on his heels during the first few kilometers of the 21.1-kilometer course, Michael Raelert soon managed to put a clear distance between himself and his pursuers. His advantage over Aernouts was about one minute at the halfway point, and 2:30 minutes at the finish. With a good time of 1:11:16 hours, Michael Raelert demonstrated that he is in excellent shape and achieved a course record in the run. "The race was very important to me," said the new European champion with satisfaction.

For Michael Raelert the European Championship was the first of three highlights in the second half of the season. It is followed on September 9 by the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas, while on October 13 the Rostock-born athlete is scheduled to make his debut in the Ironman Hawaii. "The first of the three events went well," said Michael Raelert in Wiesbaden, "the victory is a great motivator." The European champion expressed special thanks to his family and friends after his win. "The support along the course was tremendous," said a delighted Michael Raelert, "and special thanks go to Stefano of BMC for his help before and during the race."