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Aernouts and Simmonds dominate in Dubai

Belgium’s Bart Aernouts showed the form that took him to second in Kona a few years ago, while Imogen Simmonds lived up to her role as the pre-race favourite as the pair took convincing wins at Ironman 70.3 Dubai, setting themselves up for a run at the $1 million Triple Crown.

Imogen Simmonds on her way to a big win at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon last year.

Both Aernouts, second in Kona in 2018 and a the winner of Challenge Roth in 2017, and Simmonds, third in Nice last year, are very viable contenders for the Triple Crown – to win the $1 million you have to win Ironman 70.3 Dubai, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Ironman 70.3 Bahrain.

Bart Aernouts at the press conference for the 2019 Ironman World Championships.

Aernouts powers clear on dry land

When Bart Aernouts is on, he is really on. He showed that again today with impressive 1:52 (bike) and 1:10 (run) splits that saw him overcome a 3:15 deficit after the swim to run his way to a big win. Both defending champion Adam Bowden (GBR) and Belgian Pieter Heemeryck came out of the water in under 23 minutes, putting them well ahead of Aernouts. That lead shrunk, though, on the bike as Aernouts flew through the flat, fast bike course making it a Belgian road race for the win. Bowden hung tough for third.

Men’s Top 5

Name Country 1.9 km Swim 90 km Bike 21.1 km Run Total
1 Bart Aernouts BEL 0:26:01 1:52:34 1:10:51 3:33:44
2 Pieter Heemeryck BEL 0:22:46 1:55:59 1:12:17 3:35:08
3 Adam Bowden GBR 0:22:43 1:57:08 1:12:13 3:36:30
4 Magnus Elbaek Ditlev DEN 0:24:45 1:53:35 1:14:38 3:37:39
5 Matt Trautman RSA 0:25:00 1:58:51 1:11:25 3:39:26
Imogen Simmonds is all smiles alongside Emma Pallant at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon last year.

Simmonds blasts to a sub-4

After her runner-up finish at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt followed by a third-place finish at last year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Imogen Simmonds has steadily been showing her potential as one of the world’s best long-course athletes. Having gone to school in the United Kingdom, Simmonds sounds a lot more English than Swiss when you talk to her, but once on a race course she is quick to show that she is priming to follow her countrywomen Natascha Badmann and Daniela Ryf to some big wins in the future.

Part of being a true champ is winning when you’re supposed to, which Simmonds did earlier today in taking Ironman 70.3 Dubai. That she did it in a speedy 3:58 clocking is all the more impressive, as is her winning margin of just a shade under seven minutes. American Danielle Dingman managed to gain back a couple of minutes on Simmonds during the run, but was well behind for the swim and bike.

The battle for third featured an impressive race for Helen Jenkins, who was in her first race since 2016 – since then she’s had a couple of children and also gone through spinal fusion surgery. Jenkins followed Brazil’s Pamella Oliveira out of the water by a second, then lost time to the Brazilian on the bike and was only able to gain back about 90 seconds on the run, which meant Oliveira rounded out the podium. Leanne Fanoy rounded out the top five.

Women’s Top 5

Name Country 1.9 km Swim 90 km Bike 21.1 km Run Total
1 Imogen Simmonds SUI 0:25:40 2:06:58 1:21:09 3:58:36
2 Danielle Dingman USA 0:32:09 2:09:14 1:19:20 4:05:26
3 Pamella Oliveira BRA 0:24:44 2:09:24 1:27:11 4:06:31
4 Helen Jenkins GBR 0:24:45 2:12:39 1:25:48 4:08:01
5 Leanne Fanoy NED 0:28:21 2:13:58 1:22:33 4:10:22