A successful weekend for the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team in Argentina with a win and a second-place finish. Chelsea Sodaro clinched the victory in the women’s race. She dominated the run once again to cross the line in 4:07:33. Mella Oliveira (BRA; 4:17:28) and Tamara Jewett (CAN; 4:17:39) accompanied her on the podium.
In the men’s race, Pablo Dapena Gonzalez raced all day in front and challenged for the win. After giving his all, he came home in 2nd place in a time of 3:38:44. Rudy Von Berg won the race (USA; 3:37:36) with Pablo and Igor Amorelli (BRA; 3:43:28) alongside him on the podium.
Chelsea Sodaro had an excellent start to her race, exiting the water in 3rd place, 2 minutes behind the leading duo. Early on the bike, Sodaro moved up to 2nd place and cut down her deficit to 45 seconds. From then on, she controlled her effort on the bike, knowing her running strength allows her to make up a lot of ground. Entering T2, the BMC-Vifit athlete was about a minute back to Oliveira to start the closing half marathon. Once Sodaro had left T2, she immediately found her rhythm. After less than 4k, the American had not only made her move to take over control of the race, she also opened up a gap of a minute already. As Chelsea kept her pace high, her victory was never in danger. Sodaro kept extending her lead to cross the line in a time of 4:07:33, more than 10 minutes in front of her nearest opponent. With a 1:19:33 on the run, Chelsea posted the second fastest running split of the day.
A very happy Chelsea Sodaro looked back at her performance:"Very proud to come away with the win at my first regional championships. I absolutely loved racing here in Buenos Aires. We had a lot of crowd support, and that always makes the experience more meaningful. After a tough swim, I committed to riding my bike well and I feel that I executed the plan. I got off the bike ready to go to work and just started ticking off one K at a time. It’s always an honor to represent the team well, and I feel that I thrive in Championship events. I’m happy to still be competing well and showing consistency this season. I attribute that to my Coach Matt Dixon, my chiropractor Mike Lord, and all of the support I have received from the team this year".
So close to the win
With a fantastic swim once again, Pablo entered T1 in 2nd place as part of a big leading group of 9 athletes. In the first 20k of the bike, that big leading group was cut down to only 4 athletes. Dapena made the cut as he kept riding attentively in that front group. Together with Von Berg, the BMC-Vifit athlete let Amorelli open up a gap before the halfway mark. Back on their way to T2, the duo made sure that gap was closed again as the leading trio started the run within a few seconds of each other. In the early stages of that run, Pablo Dapena Gonzalez put the hammer down as he led the race with an advantage of 30 seconds at the 8k mark. Together with Von Berg, the Spaniard made it a tough battle on the back half of the run. At the end, Von Berg was able to step up the pace and finally broke away. After a great day of racing, where he was never out of top three, Pablo came home in 2nd place, just over a minute short of the victory.
Afterwards Pablo reflected on his hard fought second place: "After the bad luck over the last few weeks, I wanted to be competitive again today. And today that was definitely the case. After a good swim I stayed with Rudy in front of the race during the entire bike leg. He tried to brake away several times but I was able to go with him. But this was definitely costing me a lot of energy. I can be proud of my bike peformance today. I broke my average speed record and my average power output during a race. At the beginning of the run I felt comfortable and was able to run well for the first 14k. But then I started to feel the impact from the hard bike and eventually I had to let Rudy make the pass. But I am very happy. I felt very competitive today and took it all the way to the wire".