Liz started out strongest. She was the first woman out of the water, holding a 90-second lead. Sofie was 02:25 behind in 11th position. Bart had to start the bike leg with a 4:19 deficit to fastest swimmer Benjamin Sanson. However, Bart quickly managed to move up from a 24th post-swim position and eventually caught up to a group that included big guns Llanos, Raelert, Van Berkel, and Halksworth. They were chasing Dreitz, who had made a solo escape. On the women’s side, Sofie worked her way up the field steadily. Going into T2, it was Dreitz with a 6+minute lead on the chase group that included Bart. Liz was in second at about 5 minutes and Sofie, in third at more than 8 minutes. The half marathon offered up an exciting spectacle as Bart and Raelert outran the rest of the favorites to close much of the gap to Dreitz. Bart was able to break away from Raelert in the final stretch to take silver. Showing off her strong running form, Sofie passed Liz two kilometers before the finish.
Bart Aernouts was pleased with a strong result after a tough day: “Dreitz was just too strong today. So I’ll take second place, especially because I really struggled in the first part of the race. My swim was not good at all and I didn’t feel well the first hour on the bike. Of course, when you do a race in the middle of a training camp, you know you might not be in top race shape. Still, I am happy I was able to get through that rough patch and catch up with the chase group. It was a bit of an all-or-nothing gamble, but it put me back in the race. In the first lap of the run, we ran for the win but in the end Dreitz was too far gone. All-in-all though, this is a solid result that adds to my preparation for Ironman Nice.”
Sofie Goos continued her outstanding spring season. “Yeah, 2014 been good so far, unexpectedly. A win in the 70.3 Texas, and second place here and in San Juan. Then again, I still have my main goals, Ironman Brazil and Copenhagen, in front of me. For the past two weeks, I have been training really hard here for Brazil. So I wasn’t sure how I’d feel. In the swim and on the bike, it was hard to tell. I felt okay, but not really in charge either. The run was good though. I had already settled for third place because I was so far behind. But then I heard I was catching up to Liz and kept pushing for that second place. Training in Mallorca went well, so did this race. My preparation for Ironman Brazil is right where it should be.”
Liz Blatchford was happy with her third place, but would have loved a better half marathon. “It’s always nice to get on the podium, but I didn’t really perform the way I had hoped. I did a good swim and my bike was decent, but I felt rubbish on the run. Sometimes you have those days, I guess. Even though this race was part of my preparation for Ironman Cairns and not a goal per se, you always try to give every race your best. I just had nothing on the run. Obviously I missed some running this year because of my foot injury, but I feel like I have been doing some good training sessions. I feel like my run is at a better place than how I raced today, so I know what to work on in the four weeks until Ironman Cairns.”