The Uplace Pro Triathlon Team will continue into 2013 with Tine Deckers, Sofie Goos, Bart Aernouts, Bert Jammaer, Bruno Clerbout and Axel Zeebroek. With this announcement, Uplace extends its commitment to Belgian triathlon and the six athletes who competed for the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team for the last two seasons. The Belgian lifestyle real estate group was the driving force behind the creation in 2010 of the only Belgian professional triathlon team. The goal was to record top Belgian results in international triathlon within two years. Eight victories and 23 podium finishes in Ironman races later, that ambitious objective was met. “The past two years have proven the success of our professional team approach. There is too much potential and ambition to not continue with this unique project and these talented Belgian athletes. But in moving forward, we are also raising the bar. In 2013, we will aim even higher,” said Uplace Chairman Bart Verhaeghe.
Belgium has a rich triathlon history, but the sport is evolving rapidly. The professional field is getting stronger and the new qualifying rules for the World Championships Ironman in Hawaii make for a long and strenuous season. How can talented Belgian athletes maintain a place at the international top? In 2010, Uplace Chairman Bart Verhaeghe formulated an ambitious response: “You can try to catch up with this wave of professionalization or stay on top of it. With the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team, we chose the second, proactive approach. In today’s triathlon, there is only room for athletes who can focus 100% on their sport and have access to professional support and the best materials,” says Verhaeghe.
As the only Belgian professional triathlon team, Uplace introduced a new professional team approach. Team manager Ben De Wolf explains, “The team provides a complete support structure and high quality materials. There are team trainers, training camps and top specialists. Uplace also provides marketing, legal and accounting support. Those are things Belgian professional triathletes could only dream of before. More importantly, the team environment resulted in better athletes and strong results. However, we still see a great deal of potential in this group. The objectives for 2013, with a specific focus on the Ironman Hawaii, will be even more ambitious.”
In the past two years, Uplace athletes Tine Deckers, Sofie Goos, Bart Aernouts, Bert Jammaer, Bruno Clerbout and Axel Zeebroek accumulated eight wins and 23 podium finishes in Ironman races. With five athletes, the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team was the largest pro team in the 2012 Ironman Hawaii. Bart, Axel, Bruno and Tine secured no less than four top-16 places in this year’s World Championships.
In 2012, Tine Deckers won the Ironman Nice for the third time and took her first 70.3 title in Ireland. Sofie Goos triumphed in the Ironman Brazil. Bart Aernouts won the Ironman 70.3 Antwerp for the third consecutive year; he also came in second in the European Championships half Ironman and sixth in the World Championships 70.3. Bruno Clerbout finished third in the Ironman 70.3 Rapperswil-Jona and fourth in the Ironman Nice. Axel Zeebroek finished third in the Ironman St. George and in the Ironman 70.3 San Juan. Bert Jammaer took second place in the Ironman 70.3 Antwerp and fourth in the Ironman Lanzarote.
Based on these outstanding results, the Uplace Pro Triathlon Team will continue into 2013 with the same six athletes. The athletes will share their ambitions for next year during the team presentation in January 2013.