Daniel Baekkegard appeared to be on track for an amazing performance at the Ironman 70.3 North American Championship yesterday, running stride for stride with eventual winner Lionel Sanders, when those watching the live coverage learned he’d been disqualified. Having just turned 25 on April 26, the young Dane is quickly making a name for himself as one of the sport’s up and coming athletes. A former national swimmer, he turned to triathlon in 2015 and, by 2019, took the wins at Ironman 70.3 Lahti and Ironman Austria. Earlier this year he took the win at Ironman 70.3 Dubai, too.
In an Instagram post from earlier today Baekkegard related that, for the most part, he was happy with his performance in Utah – coming out of the water in the front pack, pushing the pace on the bike then running hard. He also explained his side of his disqualification:
“I ended up with a DQ because of an unserved penalty,” he wrote. “Being one of the front guys in the group, I got overtaken by a chasing athlete. He overtook me and the guy in front of me before sliding into the group where there was clearly no space.”
That move, according to Baekkegard, forced a domino effect of braking in the group, which meant that Baekkegard entered the draft zone of the rider ahead of him. Once an athlete enters the draft zone they have to make the pass – because he didn’t it would seem he was assessed a penalty.
“I went to serve my penalty in T2, but was given the message that I had no penalty to serve,” Baekkegard wrote. “After that I started running. Got the call 2k from the finish that I had a DQ.”
It’s not clear who might have given him such a message, though, as it is the athlete’s responsibility to report to the penalty tent after he’ been notified by the referee out on the bike course. Penalties aren’t reconciled until after the bike ride, so the officials in the transition wouldn’t be aware that Baekkegard had been given a penalty. He obviously knew that the referee out on the course had flagged him as he “went to serve” his penalty when he got to the transition.
Baekkegard appears to be ready to use the experience as a way to get motivated for the upcoming Ironman North American Championship in three weeks:
“Right now I’m gutted but the eyes are still on Ironman Tulsa and now I have some steam to let out.”