Entering into 2019, BMC and Vifit have continued their support of the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team. The team has outlined some ambitious targets and has presented a team roster for 2019. 8 athletes are confirmed, with 6 nations represented and four new faces.
It was over a decade ago in 2008 that Uplace, as founding partner, made the first steps into the triathlon world. Since then, the team has continued to grow and has gone from strength to strength to become one of the worlds’ leading triathlon projects.
CEO, Bob De Wolf reflects, “With 81 victories and 163 podium finishes over the last five seasons the results have been very impressive. Our focus this year was very clear. We wanted to perform at an outstanding level throughout the entire season and to continue our journey as one of the leading teams in the world.
“With a total of 19 victories this season including wins at IRONMAN Mont Tremblant, Philippines, Hamburg and Boulder, and 31 podium places including a second place at the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii, we have had one of our best seasons ever.
“We are entering a new decade next year as a team and it is fantastic to be able to continue building on such a great project. I am elated with the continued support from BMC Switzerland for next season and the ongoing partnership with Vifit for 2019 and 2020.”
He continued, “It is our ultimate ambition to win a world title over the coming years. 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.”
Troy de Haas, Head of Sport at BMC Switzerland, added “We have thoroughly enjoyed a close partnership with our professional triathlon team over the past six years, and we are extremely proud of their rise on the world triathlon stage. Supporting this group of individual athletes through a team format has proven very effective and efficient – and mirrors our approach across all our professional racing teams as extensions of the global BMC Switzerland family.
“Their feedback enables us to innovate and maintain our position of producing the world’s fastest Time Trial bike, the BMC Timemachine. We are excited to see what successes this extraordinary group of sporting talent brings in 2019!”
Sophie Nicolas, Team Manager Vifit Sport said “We are very excited about continuing this partnership with our Vifit brand as we truly believe in the shared values of the team and in developing the knowledge and benefits of high-protein and sports nutrition. The world of triathlon is growing really fast and we want to make our contribution to both lifting the current team to the highest level of performance as well as supporting the next generation of triathletes. We are really looking forward to the 2019 season and take great pride in working together with the full team to help achieve their ambitious targets for the coming years.”
Team line-up confirmed
De Wolf continued, “As we continue to set out very ambitious targets for the years to come, I am very proud and pleased with the team line up we have confirmed for next year. Confirmed athletes are: Will Clarke (UK), Pablo Dapena Gonzalez (ESP), Manuel Küng (SUI), Chris Leiferman (USA), Sarah Lewis (AUS), Patrik Nilsson (SWE), Emma Pallant (UK) and Chelsea Reilly Sodaro (USA).”
The cooperation with Bart Aernouts, Liz Blatchford, Maurice Clavel and Ronnie Schildknecht will come to an end at the end of this season.
Bob De Wolf added, “Earlier in the year Liz Blatchford announced her plans to retire at the end of the season. Liz has had a phenomenal career that spans 18 years in professional triathlon. Bart (8 seasons), Liz (5 seasons), Ronnie (5 seasons) and Maurice (2 seasons) have played an instrumental part in what we have been able to achieve as a team over all those years.
“Bart was a member of the team since 2011 and was an integral part of the development of an ambitious Belgian team into one of the leading triathlon teams in the world. Bart, Liz, Ronnie and Maurice have all been fantastic to work with and we are very grateful for what they have done for the team. The team is immensely grateful for their contribution throughout those years, as top athletes and for the phenomenal results they achieved as members of our team.”
Four new faces in the team
Pablo Dapena Gonzalez is one of the new faces in the team and will join the BMC-Vifit Pro Triathlon Team powered by Uplace from next season onwards. De Wolf added, “We are incredibly proud and excited to work with such a line-up of talent next season. Pablo Gonzalez Dapena burst onto the scene in 2018 taking the World title at the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship and winning a number of the most prestigious half distance events of the season. Pablo is one of the most exciting talents on the long distance triathlon scene and we strongly believe in his potential.
“Chelsea Reilly Sodaro is a former Team USA athlete running qualifying times for the Rio Olympics on the athletics track. She is brand new to long distance racing and put down her marker straight away by finishing on the podium at her first IM 70.3 race in October and winning IM 70.3 Indian Wells in dominating fashion last weekend. Chelsea spent the last two seasons on the ITU circuit, where she demonstrated her talent earning her first World Cup win earlier this year. Sodaro has her sights set firmly on becoming a world class long distance triathlete.
“Sarah Lewis had a breakthrough year in 2018 winning Challenge Rome and Challenge Finland, finishing second at IM 70.3 Dubai and taking the silver medal at the European Long Distance Championships. To finish off an outstanding season Sarah finished second at the Middle East Championship at IM 70.3 in Bahrain less than a week ago.
“Manuel Küng has an impressive résumé over the 70.3 distance already and 2018 was an excellent year for the 31 year old Suisse. Küng claimed victory in IM 70.3 Luxembourg and finished on the podium a three other half distance events this season.”