A few big names have moved on, but the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team will once again feature an impressive lineup.
December 14, 2018 | NEWS|
While a few big names will not be returning to the BMC-Vifit team in 2019, the Belgian-based pro team will very much continue as a powerhouse in the world of pro triathlon. This year's Kona runner-up, Bart Aernouts, who has been a member of the team since its inception eight years ago, will not be part of the 2019 roster. Nor will Maurice Clavel, Ronnie Schildknecht or Liz Blatchford, who announced her retirement earlier this year.
Heading into 2019, though, the team has replaced those athletes with some big names, including this year's ITU long course world champion, Pablo Dapena Gonzalez, to go along with a returning core of triathlon standouts. Suffice it to say, the team will continue to look for big results.
“It is our ultimate ambition to win a world title over the coming years”, says CEO Bob De Wolf. “Emma Pallant finished second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2017 and Bart Aernouts claimed a fantastic podium place in Kona this season. I know this is an extremely ambitious target, but in the long run I strongly believe we have the operational set up, the support of fantastic partners and the quality in the team to do so.”
He's not joking, either. Here's the list of confirmed athletes on the 2019 roster:
- Will Clarke (GBR): the 2008 Olympican finished third at the Ironman North American Championship in Texas in April and is a multiple 70.3 champion.
- Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP): the ITU Long Distance world champion in 2018, Dapena Gonzalez just tied for first in the Challenge Family World Bonus Pool thanks to wins at Challenge Gran Canaria and Challenge Mallorca.
- Manuel Küng (SUI): a multiple Ironman 70.3 champion, Kung won Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg this year along with runner-up finises at Ironman 70.3 Rapperswil, Ironman 70.3 Finland 2018 and Challenge Mallorca.
- Chris Leiferman (USA): the Ironman Boulder and Ironman Louisville champion in 2018, Leiferman also took the Ironman Mont-Tremblant title in 2016.
- Sarah Lewis (GBR/AUS): the winner of Challenge Rome and Challenge Finland this year, Lewis also took impressive runner-up finishes at the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain and the ETU Long Distance European Championship.
- Patrik Nilsson (SWE): the runner-up at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Nilsson is a four-time Ironman champion and finished eighth in Kona in 2017.
- Emma Pallant (GBR): the runner-up at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2017, Pallant took wins at Ironman 70.3 Barcelona, Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire and Ironman 70.3 Dun Laoghaire in 2018.
- Chelsea Reilly Sodaro (USA): the winner of the ITU Huatulco World Cup 2018, Sodaro burst onto the long distance scene this fall with a third-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Waco and a win at Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells.