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Helle Frederiksen 3rd in Challenge Dubai, Bart Aernouts 6th

Challenge Dubai is the first of three half distance triathlons being part of the Triple Crown series. With a prize purse of 1 million dollar over the three Challenge events in the Middle East (Oman and Bahrain are the following races), this competition became the 2015 "next best thing" after Hawaii. A top class organisation and the high prize purse brought a world-class field to Dubai. The women's race was dominated by the runner-up of Hawaii, Daniela Ryf (SUI:4:05:01), followed by Heather Wurtele (CAN: 4:09:21). Helle Frederiksen (DEN: 4:11:43) of the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team came third after a solid run. The men's podium was slightly unexpected with a deserved win of Terenzo Bozzone (NZL:3:41:45), Michael Raelert (GER:3:42:49), the winner of Challenge Bahrain, came second and Manuel Küng (SUI: 3:45:39) came third. Bart Aernouts (BEL:03:47:13) of the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team came 6th with the 2nd best run of the race. His teammate Will Clarke finished in 34th position (GBR:04:01:35).

2015 continues to be great for the Uplace-BMC Pro Triathlon Team, with 4 podium finishes in 4 races.

Helle Frederiksen 3rd in Challenge Dubai

In her first race of the season, Helle Frederiksen took her first podium finish. Helle came sixth out of the bumpy sea (1,9km swim: 25:09), 1:50 behind Lauren Brandon. On the bike, Helle moved up to the 5th position (90km bike: 2:23:49). At T2, Daniela Ryf had a 4:55 minute lead on Helle Frederiksen. During the run, Helle pushed hard and moved up to a well deserved 3rd place (21,1km run: 01:19:27).

Very, very tough

Helle Frederiksen was very pleased with her 3rd place: "It was a very tough race, but I am very happy I got on the podium. It didn't come easy, in fact it never comes easy, but sometimes you feel better, today it was only half half. We had very rough conditions, which is of course the same for every one: winds, currents, sand storms, cross winds,.. Yes, everything that makes it a real challenge.

Now it's time for recovery before I move on to the next race. Although I didn't win today, Triple Crown is still my focus. Both Oman and Bahrain are massive events where you have the best women in the world competing. It is always an honor racing the best in the world. I will definitively do the next two Triple Crown races. I also think that no one will win that 1Mio $ prize. I will definitely do whatever I can to win either Oman or Bahrain."

Bart Aernouts 6th in Challenge Dubai

Bart Aernouts had a decent swimming leg today (swim 1,9km:25:25). He came out of the water just three minutes behind the leading group. At T1, Bart Aernouts was in the 46th position and started a true catch up. The race was characterized by strong winds. Nevertheless Bart Aernouts moved up to the 15th position on the bike, to finish with a super fast half marathon (21,1km running:1:11:17). He sprinted to the sixth place with only a handful of seconds ahead of Martin Jensen and Eneko Llanos. With a time of 3:47:13, Bart was 5:28 slower than the winner Terenzo Bozzone.

One of best runs ever

Looking back at the race, Bart Aernouts has good reasons to be satisfied with his performance: "It was my first Challenge event, I was not really focusing on this race. It is not my main goal for the season, so I was not a 100% prepared. In the end, I am really happy with my sixth place. It shows that I am not in a bad shape at all in such an amazing field. It's a good sign for my first Ironman this season, Ironman South Africa.

It was a really tough day today, I think every one will agree with that. The swim was choppy. We had crazy winds on the bike, I have never seen a race like this before. You had to keep on pushing the whole time. This is also why the gaps are so big on the bike. I think it was not too bad for me. I could make up quite a bit of time on the first half of the bike. On the second half I struggled with the headwind. But I am really happy with my bike performance. When you jump off the bike, you never feel great, but I think I 've done one of my best runs ever. Together with Eneko Llanos, I was battling the whole time. It was a good day.

Next race for me is Ironman South Africa. The main goal is to qualify for Hawaii. I need to make sure I finish the ironman. But of course just finishing is not my goal, I want to do a decent performance."

Not a big hit
Will Clarke came to Dubai after several intensive training weeks: "I knew that it was not gonna be a big hit today. I tried my best. It was especially hard on the bike, I only passed one or two people. When I got on the run and I basically survived it and took the wild card. I didn't want to come to Dubai and pull out and take nothing from it. Looking at the race, I am pretty disappointed. I know I am in a good shape, I can do much better than that. My average power today was 275 watt. In most races last year, I pushed 325 watt. It was way off where I meant to be. But the training is going great, so I believe that next time it's gonna be much better."

Post race interviews:

Race results:


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