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Aernouts wins in Horst

Bart Aernouts

Bart Aernouts

Bart Aernouts sprinted to victory to claim the European Long Distance Duathlon Championship in Horst.

The 2010 World Duathlon Champion led home compatriot Rob Woestenborghs in a Belgian one-two as the duo dominated the majority of the race.

Switzerland’s Andreas Sutz finished third to complete the podium.

In the early stages of the first run it was Russian Sergey Yakovlev who set the pace with Roger Roca (ESP).

By lap 3, the lead group contained seven athletes with Yakovlev and Roca joined by Woestenborghs (BEL), Aernouts (BEL) Mott (GBR), Rodriguez (ESP) and Le Duey (FRA).

The big surprise was that defending Champion Joerie Vansteelant was some way off the pace and by the 4th lap he was 55 seconds behind.

Woestenborghs exited transition onto the bike in the lead, with Le Duey and Roca in close pursuit.

Vansteelant, who didn’t look comfortable on the course, withdrew from the race on the second bike lap. After the race the World Champion admitted that his hamstrings were tight and put it down to his exertions in Fuerteventura last weekend.

Nevertheless, Aernouts and Woestenborghs continued to fly the Belgian flag and the duo set a breathtaking bike pace to really open up the field.

Only Andreas Sutz could keep up with the Belgians and by the last bike lap the trio held a lead of over 1 minute 30 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.

On the final run segment, Aernouts and Woestenborghs continued to push each other with Sutz falling behind but secure in third place.

The Belgian training partners remained neck and neck for the remainder of the race before Aernouts kicked on and sprinted ahead of Woestenborghs to claim the title and in a touching gesture, he even had time to pick up his 4 month old daughter to carry her over the line with him.

After the race, the new Champion Aernouts said: “I am happy with the result, very pleased.

“The pace was very high, we were just a small group. Myself and Rob had a plan to push it on the bike and make it a tough race for everybody and Andy (Sutz) was the only one who could follow.

“There is still a long way to go on the final run, we were both comfortable on the run and with 1.5kms to go I pushed a bit harder and that was enough to win.”

Rob Woestenborghs, who was also runner up at the World Duathlon Championships in Zofingen last year, said:  “I am satisfied with second place, I had  a very small chance to win. I train with Bart and I know he is stronger than me.”

Andreas Sutz said: “I am really happy I had no expectation to get on the podium. I thought if I ran a good race I had a chance of top five but I didn’t expect to get on the podium.”

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