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Petraeus, Steffen Victorious at Challenge Aarhus Half

Rasmus Petraeus Challenge Aarhus 2011Caroline Steffen and an ecstatic Rasmus Petraeus win the inaugural 2011 KMD Challenge Aarhus half iron distance triathlon in Denmark

Rasmus Petraeus pulled off a small upset at the inaugural KMD Challenge Aarhus today. The heavy favourites was Rasmus Henning and Martin Jensen, but unfortunately for Rasmus Henning he had to pull out of the race after the swim with the same and unexplainable heavy cramping he experienced in Abu Dhabi in March.

The race should be open for Martin Jensen to run away with the win, but 21 year old Rasmus Petraeus had his running legs working well for him in this race and slowly reeled in the heavy bikers on the hilly and scenic run through downtown and the arts museum ARoS.

He finished the half iron-distance race in 3:48:18 (the swim was shortened to 1,000 metres due to a water temperature of 13,8. Danish rules state that no open water swim longer than 1,000 metres is legal with a temperature of under 14 degrees celcius.)

"It seems a bit unreal right now that I have won the race, but I'm really happy to have established my name now and proven Rasmus Henning and Martin Jensen and the rest of the Danish triathlon community that I'm one to look out for. I like the role of underdog. Last year I won the Danish long distance championships but neither Martin Jensen nor Rasmus Henning was there. Today both of them were at the starting line with me, but I crossed the finish line first. I had been hoping for a bit more competition from them, but now it just feels great to have done this," the happy winner said.

2011 Challenge Aarhus Results:
Aarhus, Denmark

Pro Men Results Time
Pro Women Results Time
Rasmus Petræus (DEN) 3:48:18
Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:04:16
Martin Jensen (DEN) 3:49:10
Eva Nyström (SWE) 4:16:36
Mads Vittrup-Pedersen (DEN) 3:50:14
Michelle Vesterby (DEN) 4:18:11
Emil Dalgård (DEN) 3:50:41
Lucie Zelenkova (CZE) 4:22:21
Erik-Simon Strijk (NED) 3:51:06
Eimear Mullan (IRL) 4:22:37

Martin Jensen was very disappointed about his second place. He was the obvious candidate for the victory when Rasmus Henning had to pull out, and he really felt that he could win. Jensen was the second man out of the water after Rasmus Petraeus and also the second one coming in on the bike - this time after the über biker Björn Andersson.

"I started off the run quite well and knew that I could overtake Björn in the run at some point. I followed my strategy all the way, but after 16 km on the run, I just didn't have more in me. Rasmus came from behind, and he really had good running legs today, so I just couldn't keep up with him. I'm really disappointed about not winning today but in triathlon the strongest man wins and today that was Rasmus Petraeus," Martin Jensen says.

Today was the debut for KMD Challenge Aarhus and the stage had been set for a really exciting race - not least with a spectacular run course taking the athletes through the city centre including the local art museum ARoS. Due to low water temperature, the organisers had to rearrange the swimming by shortening the course 1.9 km to 1 km.

That changed the scene a bit and did not leave as big a gap between the athletes after the swim as usual on the half iron-distance. Rasmus Petraeus was the first athlete out of the water, but as Björn Andersson from Sweden is known as a muscle machine on the bike, he quickly took the lead. After 45 km he was leading by 4:30 minutes down to Emil Dalgaard and Martin Jensen.

Caroline Steffen Aarhus 2011After changing to his running shoes, Martin Jensen quickly overtook Emil Dalgaard and now slowly moved in on Björn Andersson. With about 7 km to go the race was as close as could be when Björn Andersson, Martin Jensen and now Rasmus Petraeus were running shoulder to shoulder in a crowded Ryesgade where the shops were open. Not long after Martin and Björn fell short of energy and left the stage open for Rasmus Petraeus to take the win.

Lucie Zelenkova was first out of the water on the shorted swim. It didn't take long for Caroline Steffen to take over from there with her blazing 2:20:48 bike split, nearly ten minutes faster than Michelle Vesterby who came in with a 2:30:10. The lead was enough for Steffen who cruised to the victory even though Eimear Mullan had the fastest run split of the day, nearly two minutes faster than Steffen.

Click here to see all results for the 2011 Challenge Aarhus triathlon. For more information on the event visit www.challengeaarhus.com.

Source: Challenge Family
Photo Credit: Martin Paldan
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