Blummenfelt outpowers Heemeryck and claims PTO Asian Open victory

Kristian Blummenfelt wins PTO Asian Open (Archive picture: PTO / Insta)

He desperately wanted to earn his first PTO victory and – at least as far as Blummenfelt himself was concerned – had to wait far too long for it. But, today it was a hundred procent score in Singapore. While Belgian Pieter Heemeryck led for almost the entire day at the PTO Asian Open, it was Blummenfelt who struck during the run and claimed victory.

During the swim, no serious differences actually emerged; almost the entire group stayed together, led by Aaron Royle who was the first out of the water after 25:40 minutes and had completed his 2km swim. Only three athletes missed the connection: Mike Phillips followed at 1:42 minute behind, Sam Long at 3:56 minute behind and Matt Burton at 4:17 minute behind. That Long, who was considered one of the favorites, would fall behind during the swim was no surprise, but it was a surprise that his deficit was this huge already.

On the bike, a first shuffling took place in the big group as well: Mika Noodt, Pieter Heemeryck, Kristian Blummenfelt, Aaron Royle and Ben Kanute took off in five, though a group including Josh Amberger, Sam Appleton, Daniel Baekkegard, Florian Angert and Jason West followed at about half a minute. At that point Sam Laidlow had already dropped out the race: the Frenchman, who finished second in Kona last year, announced he was sick before the start already. He tried to race in Singapore though, but without success.

Someone who also tried, early on the bike, was Heemeryck. The Belgian athlete rode away from the leading group after just over ten kilometers and didn’t look back. His pace was so fast that within a few kilometers he grabbed a lead of almost half a minute over Blummenfelt, Noodt and Royle, while the other men dropped further back. At the same time, the second dropout of the race was also a fact; Gustav Iden crashed in a turn and injured himself too much to continue the race.

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Heemeryck kept cooling himself as he cycled – wisely, given the Singapore heat – and in the meantime kept riding very fast. Even though he was being chased by Blummenfelt, Noodt and Royle, he saw his lead increase slowly but surely. With thirty kilometers to go his lead was already over a minute and at that point Royle lost another half minute, and thus the connection with Noodt and Blummenfelt, due to mechanical problems with his chain.

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In the last twenty kilometers on the bike, Heemeryck managed to extend his lead quite a bit; nowhere did he slow down and he went full speed ahead to start the final 18 kilometers of running with the biggest possible advantage. In the end he was still in doubt for a moment if he was on his last bike lap (out of eight laps), but he got that confirmation from a motard riding next to him. Back in T2, his lead over Blummenfelt had increased to a whopping 1:50 minute and Noodt also followed with that same gap. Pole Kacper Stepniak followed in fourth (+2:26) and Baekkegard (+2:56) in fifth. One of the fastest runners in the field, Jason West, followed in seventh at 4:32 minutes behind. A striking detail was that Heemeryck took about thirty seconds longer on his second transition than the men following behind him.

While Noodt dropped back directly in the first kilometers of the run, Blummenfelt began to catch up to Heemeryck. After the first of three running laps, and thus 6 kilometers, he had already cutted forty seconds off his deficit and Blummenfelt was just over a minute behind the leader. Meanwhile, West had already advanced to third place, as he was flying over the course as always, and he too had already made up a minute of his deficit, leaving 3:30 minutes to make up in the final 12 kilometers.

With eight kilometers to go, it was Blummenfelt who had made up his deficit and without mercy he passed Heemeryck. There was no moment when Heemeryck tried to catch on, knowing that West was getting closer and closer, and so some tough kilometers awaited him in the battle for silver. Blummenfelt, meanwhile, was on track to claim his first and long-cherished PTO victory.

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It was also immediately the moment the race was decided; Blummenfelt ran to victory and West’s pace stalled a bit, leaving Heemeryck no longer to worry about the well-earned second place.

Blummenfelt won the race in 3:20:48. Heemeryck finished second in 3:22:47 and West third in 3:24:03.