Uplace-BMC athlete Bart Aernouts (03:11:15) took the victory in the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship in Bahrain after an amazing performance on the bike. Due to heavy winds and currents the swim leg was cancelled. Bart dominated on the bike and held off Swiss athlete Ruedi Wild (03:12:26) to claim the victory in Bahrain. James Cunnama (ZAF; 03:13:54) completed the podium.
Due to heavy winds and currents the organization cancelled the swim. The athletes had to sprint to their bikes in waves and took off for 90K on the bike. The bike course was flat, but the wind gave the athletes a hard time. Clearly it inspired Uplace-BMC athlete Bart Aernouts. In the early parts on the bike, he took the lead and started to put pressure on the rest of the field. At the 47K mark Bart had built up an advantage 45 seconds on McMahon. At 60K his lead had grown to 1:23.
Bart finished the bike course in an astonishing time of 1:55:14. Starting the run, the Belgian had an advantage of 2:17 over McMahon and 2:49 over Cortes, but they weren’t his biggest rivals during the run. The Swiss athlete Ruedi Wild came back strong and Bart had to give his best to edge away from Wild. Halfway through the run Bart still had a benefit of 2:26 over Wild. In the final stages Wild came close but Bart held on to become Ironman 70.3 Middle East Champion. Finishing 2nd in Challenge Phuket only a week ago and taking the win in Bahrain, Bart is ending his season with a bang.
Bart was clearly elated: "Due to the cancellation of the swim we started in waves. I had to start in the 3rd wave, 2 minutes behind the first wave and 1 minute behind the second. Once on the bike I pushed really hard in the early stages to make up ground on the waves in front of me. I had a great feeling on the bike. There were several parts on the course I could use the 55/11. Once I caught the leaders, I tried to break away. I managed to get away and build up a decent gap entering transition. I paid for my efforts during the run. I felt I used a lot of energy on the bike and the wind played its part. But I managed to hang on. I am really pleased with this result. Although it was really a shame the swim got canceled. I came for a triathlon race. But of course fully understand the decision of the organisation. After Hawaii I still felt fresh and wanted to finish my season on a high. I am really pleased with the victory here in Bahrain and my second place in Phuket last week. Now it is time to rest and recover."
Credit images: Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman