The first BIG racing weekend of 2021, finally!
The first weekend also our athletes were aiming high to Full and 70.3 distance races!
Yesterday in The Netherlands Rens gave the good example by taking 17th overall in his very first Ironmandistance!
Of course these performances of our athletes motivates eachother and gives confidence in entering races!
Today Champ’Man, Epernay – France was held! A tough 70.3 distance with 1200D+ during the bikecourse and a hilly run to finish! Hans won this race in 2018, but this year opponents were even harder. With Timothy Van Houtem as big favourite Winner Challenge Madrid and (semi?) – Pro athlete – https://protriathletes.org/athlete/timothy-van-houtem
and on hilly courses definitely one of Belgium’s fastest guys. But also Thy Do Duy Thien, another Belgian. A very strong athlete that amazes every year, with wins in Belman 70.3, Damme 70.3 and multiple AG podia and wins in Ironman races. And of course the mass of French athletes, who are never to underestimate!
And of course Hans and Lesly who are keen on their frist 70.3 race of the season!
A good swim of both of our athletes kept them where they had to be, Hans coming out of the water together with Van Houtem and immediately in chase of the front group. For a long time Van Houtem kept up the pace with Hans, in the steeper sections VH seemed to be a bit stronger. While on the ‘rolling’ hills Hans felt a bit stronger. At a certain point Hans made a gap and went for a solo chase on leader Do Duy Thien. Meanwhile Lesly moved up and could begin at his runcourse in search of top 20!
But one of the main focusses we put in the head of our athletes is that running off the bike determines the outcome of the race! Prizes are won at the finishline, not in transition areas!
Both Lesly and Hans ran off the bike very hard! For Hans the mission now was to keep in front of Van Houtem as long as possible, for Lesly to pick up as many athletes as he could! And the did! Hans came even very close to Do Duy and finishes 30″ behind him on 2nd place! Van Houtem takes 3rd! A very nice podium in his first A-race of the season!
Lesly from his side moved up strongly and settled down as 16th in his first race of the season!
A bit more south in the ‘Monts de Guéret’ Tim also had a very race to approach, 70.3 Half Triman de Monts de Guéret. One of the tougher French 70.3 races!
Tim is a strong swimmer and on the long distance, probably of Belgium’s potential best AG swimmers. With only 1 session in the last 4 weeks and no swimming for months (living in France – pools closed) he makes a perfect entry coming out of the water…2nd!
On this hilly racecourse Tim tried not to blow up immediately and let go the leader quite soon. But after the race he regretted his choice a bit. Heavy rainfull made the course quite tricky and with an athlete and motor in front this always is a bit easier than behind the leader. Despite that he keeps his place and gets in a small group riding for the first places. During the run (most tricky point for Tim) he had a more difficult moment just after halfway but het kept strong and the energy to battle for 3rd place came…in which he succeeded!
Excellent start also for Tim taking 3rd in his first 70.3 race of the season!
Most of our triathletes crossed the border in the North of France, where one of the nicest triathlon events in the region kept place: Chtriman Gravelines! A race in which our athletes could win already the full distance triathlon (Van den Buverie) and the LD duathlon (Meysmans)!
Today David http://www.neverbackdown.be, Jeroen and Jesse M were aiming for the full distance!
With rain in the first hours of the race the bikestart was not a dream scenario!
But after a good swim of our athletes (1h05′-1h06-1h17) their day started well, on the bike our athletes moved up!
For Jesse M it meant step up to be battling for top 20 during the run, David could keep his pace and was racing very consistent throughout the race. Jeroen (1h17 swim) moved up to where he wanted to be and took back his place on the first page of the livestream.
Ironman of course ends with a marathon, and blowing up on the bike comes back in the face very soon! Pacing of our athletes was done very well with David finishing after 10h49′ and doing a very consistent race in swim – bike – run!
Jeroen and Jesse M moved up strongly throughout the day, with Jeroen moving up from 199th after the swim to 36th overall and a 3h20′ marathon!
Jesse M amazed himself with a very strong bike effort and run off the bike in 3h10′! Finishing his first Ironmandistance in 9h45′ and 15th overall place!
Jesse M finishing 15th overall in Chtriman – Gravelines
But Chtriman is more than the full distance Ironman, it’s also about 70.3 triathlon and Long distance duathlon!
Our duathletes were ready to battle, and they did!
After a fast run, Wim, Jan and Robby kept very close to eachother during the first run! Steven DG came closely behind!
With a fast first 10K of these athletes between 3’37/km-4’05/km avg they started cycling close to eachother!
Unfortunately Steven had a flat tyre after 5K on the bike…race not done, but 20′ loss to solve the problem and losing a top 5in his category.
In that same category Wim and Jan battled for the podium and places in front of the race! Wim made the gap with Robby and Jan on the bike, while halfway the bikecourse Robby could drop Jan. In the 2nd run all 3 athletes came close to eachother…Jan putting down the fastest 2nd run of these athletes and finishes 3rd in the masters race, 6th overall!
Robby takes 3rd in his category (H24-40) and 5th overall while Wim takes 4th overall and 2nd in his category!
In the 70.3 race a lot of athletes at the starting line and for many athletes the first mass start after a year of rolling start and mostly no starts 🙂
Nathan freaked out and had to calm down himself, a pity because by this action he lost track of the front of the race!
But he too revenge on the bike, and with a strong bike and a 1h20′ half marathon afterwards he got himself back in the front to finish 18th!
At that the very end of the race he could pass Steven DB, taking 21st overall and 2nd place in the Masters category! A very strong effort of this 40+ athlete, perhaps…Stronger than ever! 1spot behind it’s Jeffrey who does another big race in his 2nd 70.3 this season and finishes 22nd in 4h20′!
Very close to these athletes we had Dimi and Alex doing an excellent race…but both athletes had a penalty on the bike! 5′ of STOP and the places flew by!
Despite that… their shape is what it is, Alexander puts down his fastest half marathon and Dimi moved up to 51st and probably lost 10 places during his stop. So good signs to the next races coming!
In between Dimi and Alexander we had Georg who did a progressive race and finishes off with a strong run, 18th in his AG!
Not so far behind Michael finishes in his first 70.3 triathon in a long time and can look back on a good preparation. With plenty of half and 1 full distance race coming this looks good!
Last but not least, Julie was our female participant in Gravelines! A tough start in her first 70.3 race with some steep hills in it…but also a race that succeeded as planned! Great job!
In Xterra France it was Dave who challenged himself in this tough offroad triathlon! And with success, finishing 24th in AG and looking back at a strong effort!
The first big weekend of the season was spot on!
Looking forward now to more racing in the next few weeks with for example Ironman Lake Placid, USA and Triathlon XL Alpe d’Huez!