Belgium’s Marten van Riel just pulled off an amazing performance at Ironman 70.3 Dubai and therefor took home the gold medal. With the 2021 palmares of Olympic champion and Ironman world record holder Kristian Blummenfelt still fresh on our minds, he was the big favorite for the win today. However, the Norwegian star athlete struggled with a mechanical issue during the bike part and seemed to experience an off day anyways. Instead, the race turned into an exciting battle between Van Riel and Denmark’s Daniel Beakkegard. It was Van Riel who noted an incredibly fast time of 3:26:06 hour – nearly beating Blummenfelt’s Ironman 70.3 world record – and crossed the line in first place. Baekkegard finished second (+1:47) and France’s Pierre Le Corre completed the podium (+6:54).
Already after the swim, Van Riel took a lead. The short-distance triathlete, who finished fourth during the Olympics in Tokyo, needed 22:49 minutes to complete that first discipline. It didn’t create a huge gap to his followers, because four men managed to stay with him: Pierre Le Corre (FRA), Baekkegard, Andrea Salvisberg (SWI) and Filipe Azevedo (POR). Blummenfelt missed the boat here and entered T1 more than one minute later. Antony Costes (FRA) reached his bike in eight place (+1:18), Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) in tenth (+1:23) and Bart Aernouts (BEL) in seventeenth position (+5:32).
Once in the saddle, Van Riel and Baekkegard quickly rode to the front. About halfway through the bike, the two had created a lead of two minutes to their fastest opponent: Azevedo. Le Corre, Heemeryck, Blummenfelt, Costes and Salvisberg followed in fourth to eight place with a five-minute deficit.
Baekkegard and Van Riel managed to extend their lead to almost six minutes during the second part of the bike. In the final kilometers both Paul Rutmann (GER) and Aernouts joined the group of Heemercyk and Costes.
With a time of 2:18:11 hours on the clock, Van Riel rushed out of T2 and onto the run course. It didn’t take long before Baekkegard saw the Belgium disappear. Van Riel ended up taking the victory by running 1:07:56 hour on the half-marathon. Baekkegard finished over one minute later in second place, and Le Corre ran himself to a third place.