Maurice Clavel (8:18:51) finished 3rd in Ironman South Africa after making his pass for the podium in the final 5 kilometers. Ronnie Schildknecht (8:23:09) claimed 5th place by setting the third fastest running split of the day. Kyle Buckingham (RSA; 8:13:00) won the race as Josh Amberger (AUS; 8:16:01) crossed the line in 2nd.
The day started perfectly for Maurice Clavel as he exited the water in 7th position as part of the big chase group. After a very fast transition Maurice jumped on his BMC Timemachine in 2nd place. On the bike, Clavel played things smart. He knew it was going to be a long day, so didn’t overdo it. He settled in the chase group, riding his own pace. He came back in transition zone in 6th place as part of the first chase group. Once again a fast transition helped the German to start the run in 4th position. Step by step, controlling his efforts and running a steady pace, Clavel took firm control of 4th place. As Wurf started suffering in the final kilometres, Maurice digged deep to go after that final podium spot. With less than 5k to go the BMC-Vifit Sport athlete made his move for 3rd place. From then on his podium place was never endangered as the South African public saw an excited Maurice Clavel crossing the finish line.
Outstanding 5th place for Ronnie Schildknecht; Emma Pallant had to withdraw due to a calf injury
BMC-Vifit Sport team mate Ronnie Schildknecht accentuated a very strong team performance, pulling off another amazing comeback race to finish 5th. After a difficult swim, Schildknecht entered T1 in 19th place. On the bike he moved his way up to 8th place. In the closing marathon, Ronnie was on fire, putting down the hammer and posting the 3rd fastest running split of the day. Schildknecht charged through the field to claim an outstanding 5th place.
Unfortunate news for Emma Pallant. She had to withdraw from her first Ironman race after suffering a calf injury on the bike. Very dissapointing as the race was planning out exactly how she wanted it to be until the injury put and end to her ambitions. She tried her best on the run, but she couldn’t hold the pain and had to withdraw.
Afterwards Maurice Clavel was very pleased with his result: “I am really really happy with my race. I am really proud of my 3rd place finish today. Now I can book my flights to Kona, which is great, first time Hawaii calling. About the race, the swim was quite hard, but I was able to exit the water in the first group. On the bike I didn't really have the best bike legs today but I managed to stay in the first chase group. On the run my legs felt really good and I was able to run to 3rd place. I am really really happy!"
Ronnie Schildknecht reflected on his performance as well: “Horrible swim, I don't know what happened, I swam zigzag all the way and lost a lot of time. Definitely not something I want to experience again, I need to work on that swim. On to the bike, the first 50K felt ok, the middle part was alright as well, but I faded in the final 30K. I came off the bike around 10th place. I ran really well, I had a very strong first opening 20K. I thought I was going to catch even more guys, I ran into 5th place. But then the man with the hammer came and I was glad I could hold on to 5th. So overall solid race and happy with my result, it is the beginning of the season and an excellent stepping stone towards my Hawaii qualification.
Emma Pallant was very dissipointed: "I felt in such great shape and was so up for this. I enjoyed every second of it until I pulled my calf on the bike and then couldn’t run on it, it just kept locking up. I am clearly extremely disappointed but I will be back stronger."
Will Clarke 8th in Challenge Roma
In Challenge Roma, Will Clarke finished in 8th place. In the closing 21K, the British athlete managed to charge his way to the field from 12th to 8th.
Ready for the Ironman American Championship in Texas
Challenge Roma was part of Will's final preperation leading up to Ironman Texas in 2 weeks time. Will Clarke reflected on his performance: I didn't get the placing that I would have liked . But in hindsight I felt really really good in the race, I had a fantastic swim and I felt I really turned a corner on the bike. I rode really well. I felt fantastic at the start of the run, then faded a bit. Still ran 3'30/km for the half, so my running is really good for Ironman not for 70.3. Things are looking good for Texas. I just missed the speed to compete for the podium today, but I feel really confident for Ironman Texas in 2 weeks time.