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Petraeus, Steffen Take Challenge Aarhus

Rasmus Petraeus pulled off a small upset at the inaugural KMD Challenge Aarhus today.

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Rasmus Petraeus pulled off a small upset at the inaugural KMD Challenge Aarhus today. The heavy favorites were Rasmus Henning and Martin Jensen, but unfortunately for 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.

Patraeus was the under dog heading into this race.

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 meters due to a water temperature of 13,8. Danish rules state that no open water swim longer than 1,000 meters is legal with a temperature of under 14 degrees Celsius.)

“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.

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.

After 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.

In the women’s race, the current ITU Long Distance World Champion Caroline Steffen of Switzerland had looked forward to test her form in KMD Challenge Aarhus today. The hilly and challenging bike course with many technical turns and the run through downtown Aarhus and the arts museum was a big experience for the Kona 2010 runner up.

She finished in a time of 4:04:16, 12 minutes ahead of swede Eva Nyström and the Danish champ on the distance Michelle Vesterby who was in third place a further minute and a half back.

“I really enjoyed the race today,” Steffen said. “It was fun to run around in the city center and I also liked the stairs leading up to the arts museum. I alternately took one step with one leg and two with the other one. I stuck to my plan all during the race.”

Race recap provided by Challenge Aarhus.

KMD Challenge Aarhus
Aarhus, Denmark – July 3, 2011
.6-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run

1. Rasmus Petraeus (DEN) 3:48:18
2. Martin Jensen (DEN) 3:49:10
3. Mads Vittrup-Pedersen (DEN) 3:50:14
4. Emil Dalgard (DEN) 3:50:41
5. Erik-Simon Strijk (NED) 3:51:06

1. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:04:16
2. Eva Nystrom (SWE) 4:16:36
3. Michelle Vesterby (DEN) 4:18:11
4. Lucie Zelenkova (CZE) 4:22:21
5. Eimear Mullan (IRL) 4:22:37