Great start of the season for Bart Aernouts and BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace. Bart Aernouts (3:43:58) finished 3rd in the Ironman 70.3 of Dubai after an amazing sprint with Terenzo Bozzone (NZL). Jan Frodeno took the victory (GER, 3:34:48) over Josh Amberger (AUS, 3:41:42).
Due to heavy winds the swim course was shortened to 1,2k. After two laps of 600m Bart came out of the water in 12th position, 3min behind leader Frodeno. The bike course was flat, but the wind made it a hard ride. During the first 45k it was difficult to make differences because of the tailwind. Although Bart was able to fight his way up to 8th position at the turning point, only a minute behind 5th place. After the turnaround the headwind challenged the athletes even more. Bart played things smart and stayed in the group. In the last kilometers he accelerated together with Terenzo Bozzone and managed to break away from the group. The duo entered T2 in 4th and 5th position and started their chase for a podium spot. After the first of three laps the difference to Jaroslav Kovacic, in 3rd, had shrunk to just 40 seconds. At the 12k mark they caught up with Kovacic, who couldn’t follow the pace of Bart and Bozzone. Both the Kiwi and the Belgian ran side by side to the finish line. In the sprint Aernouts edged out Bozzone and clinched his first podium of the season. Not only his first, but also the first for the team under the new name BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace.
After his win in the Ironman 70.3 Bahrain in December, Bart took a few weeks off to rest. Earlier this month he started to rebuild his condition. The race in Dubai was the first test to check his shape. Therefore Bart was definitely satisfied with his podium spot. “Today the third place was the highest attainable. I’ve been training for only a couple of weeks now, so I am not in my best shape yet. And when you are not in top condition yet, it hurts a lot more. But I fought for it today and I am pleased to be on the podium. The conditions were really tough today. The swim was shortened due to the weather conditions and on the bike it was a real fight against the wind. I was able to settle in a small group but it was hard out there. At the beginning of the run I felt good, but I had to give my all towards the end. I’m glad I was able to beat Bozzone in the sprint and secure the 3rd place. I suffered today, but it is nice to take a podium spot this early in the season. This is a great start to build on for the rest of the season.”