Neck and neck for a long time with another Canadian, the hard-boiled Lionel Sanders, our compatriot managed to let go of him for the finish, which he thus reached in 3h45’08 (compared to 3h45’16 to Sanders).
“Not bad for a 38 year old guy!” launched Bart, in the interview. “More seriously, it took me some time to regain all my feelings and I am therefore very happy with this third place…”
Coming out of the water in 23rd position, 2’24 from the Austrian Leon Pauger, Bart Aernouts had already gained five places during the first transition. But that was nothing compared to his ascent since the Antwerp resident was in… third place after the 90 km by bike. In front, Sam Long had taken the lead, but he was then flanked by Jackson Laundry.
Aernouts was accompanied by this devil of Lionel Sanders, at 3’45. A gap that gave him little hope of victory, but rather of a podium. He still had to get rid of Sanders, world renowned for his incredible tenacity.
While Sam Long managed to drop Jackson Laundry shortly before the halfway point of the 21 km run, Bart Aernouts was running ten seconds faster per kilometer than the leader, trying to outrun Lionel Sanders. The latter had to let the Belgian slip away, but kept him in his sights and took advantage of a drop in his sights to return to contact. Side by side, the duel looked really good.
And it was only in the last tens of meters that Aernouts managed to get rid of Sanders to afford a superb podium!