Powerman Zofingen without Vansteelant

Looking for new course records even without Vansteelant

From the 6th to the 8th of September the Powerman Zofingen is celebrating his 25th anniversary. After 1997, 1998, 1999, 2011 and 2012 the ITU (International Triathlon Union) and the IPA (International Powerman Association) are having for the sixth time common ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen. So for this 25th anniversary edition, new course records would be very fitting. But this won’t be that easy: Joerie Vansteelant who was hit by a car during a bike practice in the French Pyrenees can’t start in Zofingen because he’s injured.

Winner Powerman Zofingen 2012

    A picture we won’t be able to see this year in Zofingen: Rob Woestenborghs (on the right) from Belgium, congratulates his compatriot Joerie Vansteelant (on the left) after the Powerman Zofingen 2012 for the World Champion title.
    Eva Nyström (on the left), the title holder from Sweden and last year’s second placed Lucy Gossage (on the right) from Great Britain, want to push eachother at the 25th Powerman Zofingen to a new course record.

«Each year the ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships have been presented in Zofingen, the local organisational committee has continued to make small improvements in the presentation of the event at a very high world level», says Brian Hinton, member of the ITU MultiSport Committee and in Zofingen ITU Team Leader. 1999 Hinton for the first time visited the Powerman Zofingen. «I met the two founders of the Powerman Zofingen, Urs Linsi and Bruno Imfeld and I witnessed a fantastic race presented by the local organisational committee and by the community», remembers Hinton. «The race has continued to grow as the iconic Duathlon test, attracting tough competitors.» This year he’ll be working closely with the local organisational committee to present the race weekend again to the highest standards. Hinton indicates, that this year the Powerman Zofingen will not be held for the last time as ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. «ITU and IPA have a good option with Zofingen in the future.»

More than 1‘500 participants

Also in Switzerland and especially in the Canton of Aargau the Powerman Zofingen has a very high significance. He is a member of «Aargau Top Sport», which the most important regional sport events belong to. The Powerman Zofingen moreover is an official Swiss Olympic Event and runs in the Canton of Aargau the only World Championships which such a status. In the last six years the Powerman Zofingen could increase the number of participants in the different race categories like PowerKids, Powerman CHARITY, short and long distance constantly. In the last two years around 1‘300 people participated at the Powerman Zofingen, as many as last time in the year 2000. This year the organisational committee of the Powerman Zofingen wants to overtake the limit of 1‘500 participants. You can still sign-in for almost every category on the Powerman Zofingen homepage www.powerman.ch. For the long distance only the national associations still can sign-in their athletes. Athletes themselves can only sign-in over the long distance for the age groups.

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Vansteelant has to capitulate

Bad news from Joerie Vansteelant just shortly before the 25th Powerman Zofingen. During his second altitude training camp this year at Font-Romeu in the French Pyrenees the 31-year-old powerman from Belgium had a horror crash. «A car hit me on my training camp here in the mountains», Joerie Vansteelant said: «He just crossed the road in front of me, there was nothing I could do.» Vansteelant was preparing for the 2013 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance DuathlonWorld Championships where he would be the title holder. «I’m ok, considering I was riding at this time 50 km/h…! My bike is in two pieces, but thats not the problem, the bike can and will be replaced.» Vansteelant himself has a few bruises in his arm and his hip. «The biggest problem is situated around my sacrum, it hurts if I try to push hard on the bike, but the biggest problem is while I’m running.» Than, a few days before the Powerman Zofingen, still in the French Pyrenees, Vansteelant had an appointment with the sports doctor: «He could guarantee me 100 % sure that racing on Sunday would be to painful to run with. So I have no other option left than not to capitulate, a real disappointment, I was so much looking forward racing this 25th edition», Vansteelant says. «There is constant moisture in the joint between the sacrum and ilium, on top of it could be that there is a fracture. If I get home I have to go to an MRI scan to see how severe the damage is, so they can make a prognoses how long I will be out. Depending on that I will either do two
more races this year as scheduled or stop this season and start working hard for next year.»
Joerie Vansteelant’s new bike was just split in to pieces caused by the horror crash at the end of August this year.

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The battle for the victory

It’s a pitty, because Vansteelant had so many dreams to come true in Zofingen this year. Just at the beginning of August he confirmed, that he wants to defend his World Championship title at the 25th Powerman Zofingen. Three times (2009, 2011 and 2012) the Belgian started at the Powerman Zofingen so far and every time he has won. Twice Vansteelant over the 10 km running, the 150 km biking and the 30 km running set a new course record: 2009 in 6:11.35 and 2011 in 6:07.15. Just last year he missed his own course record by 43 seconds. «For this 25th anniversary edition, a new course record would be very fitting, wouldn’t it!?», said Vansteelant who on the 21st of June became 31 years old. On the 26th of November 2012 Vansteelant became for the second time father. His daughter Marie inspired the rocket from Torhout even more, despite the fact, that during the whole season he always had small injuries. Nd than came the horror crash in the French Pyreenes and very bad memories came up again. We remember: On the 8th of September 2007 Benny Vansteelant was hit by a car and badly injured while practicing on his bike in Hooglede, Belgium. Six days later the nine-time World Champion, five-time European Champion and the winner of the Powerman Zofingen 2005 and 2006 would succumb to his injuries in a hospital in Roeselare.
Top favourite in Zofingen is now somebody who already after last year’s Powerman Zofingen sweared to take revenge on Joerie Vansteelant.
«In the last three years Vansteelant could beat me only just once and that was at the Powerman Zofingen 2012, in all the other races I was stronger», said Rob Woestenborghs before Joerie Vansteelant’s crash. Woestenborghs lives just 60 km away from Vansteelant in Turnhout and becomes on the 30th of August 37 years old. At the end of this July Woestenborghs won at the World Games 2013 in Cali, Columbia, the Duathlon race and so became ITU Duathlon World Champion over the Short Distance. «My main goal this season were of course The World Games.» Because this event in Columbia was held just one month ahead of the Powerman Zofingen, he had to decompress and rest a bit. «Concerning my preparations for the Powerman Zofingen this was not ideal. But I will come with a lot of ambitions back to Zofingen and I’ll try to be on the podium again.» Woestenborghs even talked about a possible victory in Zofingen.
«Last year I started for the first time in Zofingen and I made a few mistakes, so now I’m more experienced and I have a new BMC bike which I like a lot.»

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party spoiler from Schaffhausen

Before the crash Vansteelants top favourites in Zofingen this year were: «Of course I expect Andy Sutz to be strong again after one year of injuries. Also my countrymen Rob Woestenborghs, the French guys Anthony Le Duey and Thibaut Humbert, and also Søren Bystrup from Danemark.» At the end of August, Humbert took himself out oft he race: «I won’t start this year at the Powerman Zofingen», the Frechman mailed just a few days before the Powerman Zofingen.
«My form and my preparations are not satisfying enough, may be I come back another time to Zofingen.» Woestenborghs who will arrive at the 4th of September in Zofingen lready before he knew that Vansteelant won’t start. had a special favourite for the Powerman Zofingen 2013. «Something tells me that Andy Sutz will be the surprise of this year’s edition!» Stefan Ruf the president of the organisational committee of the Powerman Zofingen, had the same idea.
«I expect Vansteelant, Woestenborghs and Sutz fighting for this year‘s title!» And Andy Sutz himself says: «I was never as fast as the two winners from Belgium Vansteelant and Woestenborghs, but I will give everything to be in the front.» After third place at the European Championships over the Long Distance on the 21st of April at the Powerman Holland in Horst aan de Maas, second place at the Swiss Duathlon Championships over the Short Distance in Zofingen on the 12th of May and after the victory at the Powerman Germany in Falkenstein on the 27th of May the 32-year-old from Schaffhausen wants to step on the podium in Zofingen as well. «I do not want to talk about rankings ahead of an event, but I rather want to try to perform at my best at day X.»
And Sutz is in shape because this year he already has beaten Vansteelant in Falkenstein even if this event only went over the running course – it was snowing there. All the more since Sutz has fully recovered from his previous injuries and is ready to attack. «Last year I was unable to run because of my injuries, after a fatigue break and a biking accident I even had to countermand my participation in Zofingen», says the winner of the Powerman Zofingen 2008 and 2010. He wasn’t satisfied with his appearance at the Intervall Duathlon in Zofingen at the 12th of May where he only got second behind Ronnie Schildknecht from Zurich. Schildknecht as well would have liked to start on the 8th of September in Zofingen, «but it’s a pity that at the same time the Ironman 70,3-World Championships in Las Vegas take place».

Duel in the women’s race

In the women’s race two cracks will not start in Zofingen this year: As already in 2012, Erika Csomor misses the Powerman Zofingen again.
The 39-year-old lady from Hungary at the moment rather relies on triathlon. «This season I’ve already won two Ironman races and I’ll give myself a last chance at the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii on the 12th of October.» She hasn’t forgotten that she won the Powerman Zofingen in between 2004 and 2010 seven times in a row. «I’m coming back to Zofingen for sure and I wish the organisational committee of the Powerman Zofingen a fantastic 25th anniversary!»
Another big absentee is Melanie Burke who had won by her first appearance in Zofingen 2011 the ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. «I’m suffering again of my leg injury I already had last year in Zofingen. Therefore I even couldn’t qualify myself for this year’s Powerman Zofingen.» The 31-year-old lady from New Zealand feels very sorry that she also because of financial aspects can’t come to Zofingen this time, «moreover knowing that I like the Powerman Zofingen very much». In the pole position therefore is the title holder Eva Nyström. «I hope that Lucy Gossage will come to Zofingen and will fight for the victory. The British woman and I already had a lot of great battles in duathlon and triathlon races since the beginning of 2012.
» The 35-year-old woman from Sweden counts with good reason Gossage as one of her hardest concurrents in Zofingen. Nyström who only got second in 2007, 2008 and 2011, knows how hungry that makes for a final victory. Remember: Gossage at the Powerman Zofingen 2012 in 7:10.09 got second, just behind Nyström (7:05.48). «I was surprised that I was that fast last year, because last summer I even was injured», says Nyström who became mother of a son called Simon on the 29th of January 2011. «The weather conditions were ideal, I had a good day and I wanted to win because in the past I only got second three times.»
Nyström believes that the course record (7:04.08) of Karin Bucher-Thürig from the year 2001 could be beaten on the 8th of September. «If Lucy Gossage and I will have a good day, we can push eachother in such a way that a time under 7:04 could be possible. So we two already pushed eachother to the limit at the European Championships Long Distance in Horst aan de Maas in such a way that we this year were almost five minutes faster than last year.» On the other hand it’s obvious that Nyström in Zofingen wishes another order than at the Powerman Holland on the 21st of April this year: 1st Gossage, 2nd Nyström!

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04.09.2013