“It was tough until the end.” This morning, Belgium’s Marten van Riel won Ironman 70.3 Dubai, his second victory on this distance in a row, after he started exploring the Middle Distance with a debut in 2019 at Ironman 70.3 Xiamen. That Van Riel would come this close to beating the world record only in his second Middle Distance ever, he could have never guessed, he said in an interview with 3athlon.be.
“It was a bit embarrassing”, Van Riel takes us back to the first moments after the finish. “I kind of knew that it was possible. At the finish people shouted ‘new world record’ and I went along with that. Later it turned out that Blummenfelt (Bahrain, 2019, ed.) was nearly one minute faster than me. Today’s bike course was 90.6 kilometers long, and in Bahrain it was 86 kilometers. So I can maybe still call it a world record”, Van Riel laughs.
One of the big race favorites, Olympic gold medalist Kristian Blummenfelt, dealt with a mechanical issue during the bike part, but already didn’t have his day anyway. “After the race Kristian told me that he had burned his matches at the beginning of the bike part, and in the start, we (Daniel Beakkegard, who finished second, and Van Riel, ed.) had already created the biggest gap. I think that we created a gap of three minutes in the first 45 kilometers. That’s where he emptied his tank, and that’s why he lost so much time then. He didn’t have his day… But it’s ‘the Blummenfelt’ and I’m happy that I was able to beat him”, Van Riel stated.