Marten van Riel to resounding victory Ironman 70.3 Bahrain

Marten van Riel wins Ironman 70.3 Bahrain (Picture: Instagram Van Riel)

Marten van Riel knows how to end his season in style: after already running supremely to victory at Ironman 70.3 Fortaleza last month, the Belgian has just become the winner of the highly competitive Ironman 70.3 Bahrain. From the start, Van Riel was at the front and during the run he definitely decided the race in his favor; even though he was being chased by a number of big names, he did not let himself get crazy and ran at breakneck speed to the finish.

After the swim, as many as fourteen men were within a minute of each other, but fastest swimmer was German Wilhelm Hirsch, who came out of the water after 22:43 minutes. Men like Henri Schoeman, Nicholas Quenet and Max Stapley then followed, before Van Riel came out of the water in fifth and just five seconds behind the leader.

As always in Bahrain, the throttle then opened fully on the bike. After 30.7 kilometers, Van Riel came through first, with seven more men in a position to stay with him. Not surprisingly, the group had already thinned out somewhat; the average pace at that point was 48 kilometers per hour.

During the second half of the bike ride, the pace dropped a little, but Van Riel hung his bike back in the racks at an average pace of 47.07 kilometers per hour (1:55:22). That almost insane speed ensured that the lead group had once again thinned further, and once back in T2, Van Riel saw himself surrounded only by Hirsch. Stapley, Schoeman, Quenet, Dixon and Emil Holm then followed at a minute and a half.

During the run, Hirsch still started to take the initiative, but already within a few kilometers Van Riel passed him and would leave the German behind as well. Hirsch lost quite a bit of time and eventually saw himself fall off the podium as well. Meanwhile, Schoeman in particular began to chase Van Riel, but the South African did not manage to get closer than a minute. In the last three kilometers Schoeman even lost some time again and so Van Riel impressively took the victory.

Van Riel won Ironman 70.3 Bahrain in a time of 3:31:21. Schoeman was second in 3:32:50 and Stapley third in 3:34:20.