The BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace has outlined ambitious targets and presented its team roster for 2017. With nine athletes confirmed, representing eight nations, the team has four new faces. In addition, the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team has confirmed that key bike sponsor BMC Switzerland has continued its commitment with an extension of its partnership.
It was nearly a decade ago in 2008 that Uplace, as founding partner, made the first steps into the sport of triathlon. Since then, the team has continued to grow and has gone from strength to strength to become one of the leading international triathlon projects. 2017 will be the 10th season for the Belgian based international triathlon team.
General Manager Bob De Wolf reflected, “It is amazing to look back and see where we have come from. It is fantastic to be able to continue building on such a great project and knowing that next year will be the 10th season is just amazing. The engagement for 2016 and 2017 of BMC Switzerland and Etixx as key sponsors has been a crucial step in the development of the team. It enabled us to set new goals and to build on this legacy.
“It is our ultimate ambition to win the IRONMAN World Championship in the coming years. I am therefore incredibly proud and grateful to be able to announce the extension of our partnership with BMC Switzerland through to the end of the 2018 season, enabling us to continue building towards these ambitious targets. The continuation of Etixx’ engagement next season combined with the commitment of BMC to extend its partnership in 2018, allows the team to continue to grow and create a real legacy in the triathlon sport.”
Three-year Kona podium plan with BMC
David Zurcher, CEO of BMC Switzerland said “We are very proud to be able to continue to support the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team through to the end of 2018, not just because they are excellent partners and athletes, but because they share our vision and values too. We believe that top-class results, at any level, don’t happen on their own. It takes immense teamwork and a reliable support structure for athletes to be able to give their absolute best.
“With this in mind, having BMC-Etixx as a member of our family of professional racing teams, is a mutually beneficial relationship. BMC has been a force to be reckoned with on the road for years thanks to our investments in the development of some of the best road bikes out there, and the success of the BMC Racing Team, but we recognize huge potential in triathlon.
“We have completely re-designed the Timemachine 01 to meet the needs of triathletes and we expect the BMC-Etixx Team to increase our visibility greatly among this target group. In turn, the team benefits from having the most technologically-advanced aero bikes at their disposal. We are especially looking forward to the new Timemachine being part of the winning formula in major IRONMAN events over the next couple of years.”
Team line-up confirmed
Since the launch of the international team in 2014 the results have been strong, with the team finishing on the podium in nearly 50% of its races. In the last three seasons the BMC-Etixx athletes won a total of 42 races and finished on the podium in 97 of them.
This includes 6 continental championship titles (IM European Championship Frankfurt, IM 70.3 European Championship Wiesbaden, IM Asian Pacific Championship Melbourne, 5150 US Pro Championship Hy-vee, IM 70.3 Latin American Championship Brazil, IM70.3 Middle East Championship Bahrain), a podium finish at the World Championship Ironman in Hawaii and victories in a number of the most prestigious races on the calendar (including wins in IM Lanzarote, IM Nice, IM Cozumel, IM Cairns and 2 x IM Zurich).
Bob De Wolf, General Manager of the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team, said “The results of the last three years have been outstanding. I am not going to deny that last year’s results have been less impressive than the years before, but in the grand scheme of things the past 3 seasons have been exceptional in terms of results. It was our clear ambition to be a leading team in long distance triathlon and I am incredibly pleased with what our athletes and staff have achieved in those years.
“We continue to set out very ambitious targets for the years to come and I am therefore very proud and pleased with the team line up we have confirmed for next year. Confirmed athletes are: Bart Aernouts (BEL), Liz Blatchford (AUS), Will Clarke (UK), Maurice Clavel (GER), Romain Guillaume (FRA), Patrik Nilsson (SWE), Emma Pallant (UK), Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) and Amelia Watkinson (NZL).”
Team roster 2017
- Bart Aernouts (BEL): European Champion IM 70.3 2014, Middle East Champion IM 70.3 2015, 12 x IM 70.3 winner, winner IM Nice, 3 x top 10 IM WC Hawaii
- Liz Blatchford (AUS): two-time podium WC IM Hawaii, 3rd IM WC Hawaii 2015 & 2013, 3 x IM Cairns winner, multiple IM 70.3 distance winner
- Will Clarke (UK): multiple IM 70.3 winner, fastest British athlete at IM distance (7h 59 mins at IM Copenhagen), Beijing Olympian 2008, top 10 WC IM 70.3
- Maurice Clavel (GER): multiple 70.3 distance winner, 8th WC IM 70.3 2016
- Romain Guillaume (FRA): winner IM Lanzarote, winner IM Mont Tremblant, top 10 IM WC Hawaii
- Patrik Nilsson (SWE): 4 x IM winner, 2 x sub 8 hours IM in 2016, winner IM Copenhagen 2016, winner IM Barcelona 2016, winner IM 70.3 Barcelona 2016
- Emma Pallant (UK): 2 x World Champion duathlon, winner IM 70.3 Weymouth 2016, 6 x IM 70.3 podium 2016, 6 x Olympic tri distance wins 2016
- Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI): 11 x time IM winner, winner IM Switzerland 2016, 4th WC IM Hawaii, 9 x IM Switzerland winner
- Amelia Watkinson (NZL): 6 x half distance winner 2016 (including 1 x IM 70.3 and 3 x half distance Challenge), 2 x 5150 winner
Four new faces in the team
Emma Pallant, Amelia Watkinson, Maurice Clavel and Patrik Nilsson are the new faces in the team and will join the BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace from the 2017 season onwards. Patrik Nilsson had a strong 2016 season, going sub 8 hours in 2 Ironman events. Nilsson won Ironman Copenhagen in the 8th fastest time ever recorded in an IRONMAN event and followed that with another record breaking, sub 8 hour performance, taking the win at IRONMAN Barcelona only 6 weeks later. At only 25 years of age, the Swedish athlete is ‘one of the most exciting talents on the long distance triathlon scene’.
Emma Pallant (27) is a former Team GB athlete, running qualifying times for both the Beijing and London Olympics on the athletics track. The British athlete only recently made the move to triathlon, bursting onto the scene in 2016. Pallant won IM 70.3 UK, finished on the podium at 6 x IM 70.3 distance events, extended her World Title Duathlon and won another 6 short distance triathlon events to make 2016 a ‘real breakthrough year’.
Ever since she turned pro in 2015 Amelia Watkinson (25) has been dominating the Asian Pacific triathlon scene, winning no less than 9 triathlon races on the Asian Pacific calendar this season – including wins at IM 70.3 Busa Korea, Challenge Jeju, Challenge Kanchanaburi, ITU LD Weihai, Challenge Iskander Puteri, 5150 Subic Bay, 5150 Bohol and most recently the Laguna Phuket Triathlon.
Maurice Clavel (28) started his career at the Olympic distance and made a successful transition to long distance triathlon. Since then Clavel has become a consistent podium finisher at some of the most prominent IM 70.3 events in the world, including three second places in 2016 alone. Clavel finished 8th at the 2016 World Championship IM 70.3.
Bob De Wolf added, “We are incredibly proud and excited to work with such a line-up of talent next season. We are all really looking forward to the new season. I am very grateful we were able to add such an exciting mix of talent to the squad. The ambitions for next year are clear. We want to continue winning big races and challenge for a podium spot in Kona. I am very confident that we have the talent and quality in the team to do so.”
Liz Blatchford expects first baby in June
BMC-Etixx athlete Liz Blatchford is expecting her first baby in June 2017. The BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team will support Liz in this ‘fantastic journey and be part of her comeback to racing later in the year’. General Manager Bob De Wolf added, “Liz has been a phenomenal athlete for the team, not just in terms of results and performances, but also as a through ambassador for our partners and as a fantastic person to work with.
“We are delighted for Liz and her husband and very pleased to be able to support Liz in these very exciting times. It is Liz’s personal ambition to aim for a comeback towards the end of 2017 and we are fully committed to support her in this.”
“Glen and I are thrilled to announce we are expecting, due in early June,” added Liz Blatchford. “Having a family is something we both knew we wanted in our futures; so we are more than excited about what is to come. Obviously this means some down time from racing for me but my intention is to get back to racing in some form by the end of 2017. I have no doubt I am in for a whole new set of challenges I never knew existed, so it is lucky that I like challenges!
“I am very grateful of my team, BMC-Etixx Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace, who will be supporting me through pregnancy and beyond. The team managers and many of the other athletes have families themselves so when I told them our news, they were nothing but supportive and happy for us. I have no idea what to expect! What I do know is that I can’t think of anything better than sharing this life and lifestyle with a family – exciting times await.”