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Bart Aernouts triumphs as On athletes dominate IRONMAN 70.3 Florida

On athletes took all three podium places at the grueling event in Haines City.


On trio Bart Aernouts, Matt Hanson and Andreas Dreitz blew away the rest of the field at the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 Florida – despite racing in a half-distance triathlon just eight days earlier.


All three showed their class as they stormed ahead on the course in Haines City, central Florida. Belgian Aernouts finished in 3:47:42, a full 38 seconds ahead of second-placed Hanson (3:48:20), who once again recorded the fastest run split.


And in a sign of the trio’s utter domination, even Dreitz’s bronze-medal time of 3:49:04 was more than two minutes quicker than Canadian Jackson Laundry, who claimed fourth spot.


Aernouts said: “It was my first time racing two half-triathlons back-to-back, so I didn’t feel great in the days leading up to the race. But in general I felt pretty relaxed and hungry to race again."


“From the first few meters on the bike, I felt powerful and strong and just focused on my own pace. Around halfway I started to get into the race and made up quite a few positions. I finished strong on the bike and entered the transition in third place.”


That set up a tense finish with Hanson, who was in hot pursuit over the 21.1km run after falling behind during the 90km ride. “I finished strong and left a little bit of energy in the tank to get ready for a sprint, just in case Matt caught me in the final kilometer!” said Aernouts.


He added: “Winning a race in these difficult times felt very, very good. It was also a big relief. After a tough year personally, and difficult times for many of us in general, it was also a reward for not giving up on my job and passion. Not being able to share the victory with many people was a little sad, but I feel very blessed and lucky to be able to race again.”



Despite failing to catch Aernouts, Hanson was delighted with his overall effort. He said: “It’s always great to cross a finish line, especially in a podium position!”



Third-placed Dreitz said: “Racing two races in eight days is always a challenge, but I felt quite good and had a good recovery coming into the race. In the end, though, I came a little short and really struggled on the last few kilometers.”



Both Hanson and Dreitz will now focus their attention on May’s IRONMAN 70.3 St George in Utah. Aernouts, meanwhile, looks set to be back in action towards the end of May at IRONMAN Tulsa.


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