general preview 24th Powerman Zofingen edition from 1/2 September 2012
Burke and Vansteelant are being chased now
They are king and queen of Duathlon and will be chased by all athletes: the New Zealander Melanie Burke and the Belgian Joerie Vansteelant want to defend their World Champion title. At this year’s 24th Powerman Zofingen edition, which is again hold as Long Distance Duathlon World Championships of both associations IPA (International Powerman Association) and ITU (International Triathlon Union), some top names are missing. During the upcoming Powerman Zofingen weekend, around 1’500 athletes are expected.
At September 6 and 7 2012, the 25th Powerman Zofingen edition will be hold in the capital of Duathlon. The preparation for the jubilee event has already begun. “Together for a promising future” - with this motto in mind, the company Emil Frey AG, Autocenter Safenwil, has even increased its commitment for Powerman Zofingen for the coming three years. Parts of the main sponsoring contract are the three hybrid Toyota Prius III cars in the eye-catching Powerman Zofingen design which are used as support vehicles from the Powerman Zofingen organizational committee.
However, the focus is now on the 24th Powerman Zofingen edition, which is being held again as last year as ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. It is already the fifth joint Long Distance Duathlon World Championships event of both associations IPA and ITU which take place in the Zofingen after 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2011. “Compared to last year, we only had to adjust or optimize some details” says organizational committee president Stefan Ruf. There are two positive changes on the race track. “We can once again run and bike on the original race track” announces Stephan Aregger, head race track. This was not possible last year because a strong thunderstorm during summer affected the running track up to the Heitere and the biking track at Boowald was inaccessible because of maintenance work.
Powerman Zofingen, which is a member of Aargau Top Sport (association of the most important sports events in Aargau) is now an official Swiss Olympic event and the only World Championships event in Aargau that hold such a status.
1‘500 participants expected
There were 1’300 athletes participating in Powerman Zofingen last year, a new record since the year 2000. The number of participants is constantly increasing since 2005. Martin Ryser, head athletes marketing, is expecting 1’500 participants this year. “To reach this goal, we need to have good weather during September 1 and 2, 2012. We will have about 500 athletes which participate in the Short and the Long Distance race and hope for many spontaneous Powerman CHARITY and PowerKids participants.” You can still register for the Long Distance race (only age groups), Short Distance, Powerman CHARITY and PowerKids (there is no PowerYouth race anymore because of little interest) at www.powerman.ch or directly at the Powerman arena at September 1 and 2.
Favorite Joerie Vansteelant
Joerie Vansteelant wants to defend his Powerman Zofingen title. The ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships are his main goal for the second half of the season, in which he won his sixth title at Powerman Austria Weyer at August 19, 2012 which was also his 20th success at a Powerman race. During the first half of the season, the athlete which is 30 years old, he became European Champion at the Powerman European Championships at Powerman Holland in Horst aan de Maas. Runner-up became the French athlete Anthony Le Duey, which will be together with his fellow countryman, Thibaut Humbert, the strongest competition for Vansteelant. Vansteelant also won at May 20, 2012 in Falkenstein the Powerman Germany event. The athlete married also his girlfriend last winter and their one year old son Niels will give him the extra power needed for the World Championships.
Vansteelant also established after 10km running, 150km biking and 30km running a new course record. With a time of von 6:07.15,3 he enhanced his own record from 2009 by 4 minutes and 20 seconds. “I need to have a perfect day at September 2 to beat this! Much is also owned to the weather and the general progress.” He thinks he cannot be faster on the bike, “but I guess I can run faster” says the athlete from Belgium.
First Duathlon for Burke in 2012
Melanie Burke, the defending ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Champion will contest her first Duathlon this year in Zofingen. “I participated in three Triathlons and because I am not yet very fast at swimming, my best result was a second place.” Additionally, there will be Duathlons in New Zealand only after Powerman Zofingen. Powerman Zofingen holds a special place in Melanie Burke’s heart. “It is a great race, perfectly organized, with a splendid atmosphere, many euphoric spectators and above all, a very hard and demanding race course.” The New Zealander already arrived at August 26 in Zofingen at her home stay family.
“I know I am being chased by all athletes, but I guess I can be again faster on the bike. I still suffer from a small injury and therefore got not yet fully into gear concerning running.” Burke sees as her strongest competition the European Champion Lucy Gossage (England) and the runner-up at the European and World Championships Eva Nyström (Sweden).
She pricked the ears of the audience during the media conference at August 27 with two interesting statements. There was her declaration that her bike is already three years old and that it only costed about 4’000 franks and her clear announcement: “It is my goal to win here in Zofingen and I want to grind up the 10 years old course record of 7:04:08 from Karin Thürig!”
Erika Csomor pausing
There is one competitor less for Burke:” I participated in many Triathlons this year and I have to give my body a break. Therefore I do not participate in Powerman Zofingen this year” says the 38-year old Erika Csomor from Hungary who won Powerman Zofingen from 2004 and 2012 seven times in a row. Csomor, who won Ironman Zurich assures:” I feel at home in Zofingen and I will definitively start again here.”
Look out for Susanne Svendsen. The 33-year old athlete from Denmark won this year Falkenstein (Germany, 20.5.2012), Geel (Belgium, 5.8.2012) and Weyer (Austria, 19.8.2012) – three from the nine Powerman series races and was ranked third in Horst aan de Maas (Holland, 29.4.2012). “I am ready for Powerman Zofingen” says Svendsen after her victory in Weyer. “When I started sweating at 35° in Austria I told myself to knuckle down, it will be the double distance in Zofingen.”
The organizational committee is also looking to Sweden and wondering whether or not Camilla Lindholm, ranked third in 2009, is participating in Zofingen and giving her comeback after her maternity leave.
Double misfortune for Sutz
The will to participate is as big as ever but the body is not yet completely ready. Andy Sutz suffered an injury at his left foot during the training camp in Spain this February. The accident happened during the training camp in Gran Canariamid February.
„I twisted my ankle and fell hardly to the ground“ saysSutz. He carried on with his running training and this caused a stress related fracture within the right hip and an over-straining of the tigh. As a consequence, Sutz had to stop the running training from mid February until mid July. Andy Sutz, who was spared from injuries during his career so far, could not participate in a single race this year.
There was another deep hit for Sutz at August 10, 2012. A car driver deprived him from his right of way during his bike training. “There was a heavy blow and I fell backwards to the ground.” A heavy contusion of his calf resulted from this accident. “Luckily I have no bone fracture, it was a blessing in disguise” says Sutz who was on track with his recovery until then. “I was sure so far to start in Zofingen because a place on the podium seemed reasonable to me”, says Sutz who was ranked third last year after the Belgian Joerie Vansteelant and the Frenchman Thibaut Humbert.
Sutz participated in the Schaffhausen Triathlon a day later and became runner-up despite the pain. He also was ranked sixth at the Trans Vorarlberg Triathlon at August 26, 2012 but announced a day later:” It was a hard decision but I will not participate in Zofingen at September 2, 2012. After the two training deficits due to injury, I do not feel fit enough for Powerman Zofingen!”
Insider tip Rob Woestenborghs
Sutz sees as biggest challenge for Vansteelant his fellow countryman Rob Woestenborghs. “The Belgian won Powerman Malaysia at November 13 2011 and he also won at August 5, 2012 Powerman Belgium.” Another insider tip is Beat Ritter. The 35-years old athlete who lives in Pontresina now was ranked 4th as age grouper last year. A big praise in advance is also due to the 72-years old athlete Wolfgang von Känel. The old hand will participate in the Long Distance race and will be the oldest athlete. Urs Dellsperger will not participate in the Long Distance race this year.”I am at the moment very busy in my job.” The Powerman Zofingen winner from 1995 and 1997 and therefore double World Champion will participate in Powerman CHARITY at September 1st.
The Baumann brothers
Lukas Baumann was plagued by coronary events last year and had to be contend with rank 20 at Powerman Zofingen. After a humble season start this year, he successfully passed two exercise tests on the original Powerman course track lately. “I had no problems during the biking and running. I clearly aspire to reach a place among the top ten and will go full throttle right from the start.” He already achieved this in 2010 with rank 7 and in 2007 with rank 8.
Overmodest is his brother Jonas who had to quit the race last year. He clearly calls it a gap year because he had so much to do and had not enough time for training. He additionally suffered from a heavy flu end of July. Jonas will start Powerman Zofingen this year without a clear goal. “I want to arrive at the finish line at ease, accompanied by a happy birthday song and get a new impulse for 2012 where I will give again full speed.”
Misfortune for Uebelhart
There were also better days for Jacqueline Uebelhart. The athlete was plagued in spring 2012 by problems with the ligaments and by a heavy flu. During a routine check, she was also confronted with low blood levels. But she gradually recovered. However, at the European Championships in Holland she had to quit the race because of a flat tire. And at the end of June during Gigathlon she fell very hardly on her head and suffered from a concussion. No wonder the athlete says this is the worst year in her Triathlon and Duathlon career of 12 years. Uebelhardt, who was ranked 2 in 2012, will decide about her sixth participation a few days before the event. The exercise test at Trans Vorarlberg Triathlon, where she was ranked 3rd, went very well:”I am back in form but it was a very hard race because of the temperature. It all depends now how fast I am recovering from this race.”
Back to the original race track
The women Long Distance race starts at 08:00 and the men’s race at 09:00. After some minor weather related changes last year, this year’s race will be again held over the original race course. The 50km bike lap will be passed three times and goes from Zofingen to Brittnau, Langnau, Ebersecken, Schötz, Ohmstal, Bodenberg, Fischbach, Grossdietwil, Altbüron, St. Urban, Boowald, Glashütten, Vordemwald, Strengelbach and back to Zofingen.
Information and entertainment
The crucial phase (14:00 to 16:00) will again be broadcasted live by Schweizer Sportfernsehen SSF. At the following day (20:00 to 22:00) and also later it will be repeated. Enjoy a great live reporting at www.powerman.ch. The fantainment system of the company AFcom AG enables you to reach via W-LAN always the latest news. A big praise is also due to the speaker-crew who takes care of the real Powerman Zofingen feeling. The Fotoservice Alpha Foto GmbH from Aarau and the Fotoclub Blende 8.5 Zofingen will take more than 15’000 pictures. Great entertainment is also guaranteed by the Eurodancers, who are multiple Swiss Champions in cheer dance.
During the Powerman Zofingen weekend there will be four different races with 52 different categories. Very much in demand are the relay races over the Long and the Short distance and of course the Short Distance race (10km running, 50km biking, 5km biking) all on September 2, 2012. You can still register on www.powerman.ch .The indicated fees already contain the late entry fee. After the 29th August you can only register directly at the Powerman arena until one hour before the race starts.
The youngest Duathletes, the so called PowerPfüderis (age group 2007 and younger) do not need to register and can participate for free. They can start for the 60 meters running course at 2.10 pm. Between 1.30 and 2.40 pm the “PowerKids” aged 6 to 13 will start for a 0.55 or 0.75 k run, then for 1.1 or 1.5 k biking and to finish with again 0.3 k running. PowerKids can still register for a fee of SFr 25 (including the additional fee of SFr 5 for late registration) until 30th August on www.powerman.ch or against cash payment in “StadtbüroZofingen”. A special offer you get in the Perry Center Oftringen. There you cansign in at the information point until 29th August WITHOUT having to pay an additional fee for late registration! After this date PowerKids can only be registered on 1st September from 12 o’clock until 30 minutes before the relevant start time of their category. They have to show up in the Powerman arena behind the public school to do so.Please be 30 minutes before starting time in the Powerman arena – this is important for the hand-over of bikes and the warming up. All participants have to bring their own helmet and bike!
Powerman CHARITY with many well known Swiss VIP’s
There will be no ranking list and everything is very relaxed. Bike or run just for fun together with many Swiss celebrities like Rahel Frey, Esther Süss, Evelyne Leu, Donghua Li, Mike Kurt, Urs Dellsperger, Christian Wenk, Stephan Meier, Carlos Lima, Mathias Frank, Benvenuto Savoldelli and some FC Aarau footballers. This time PLUSPORT Disability Sports Switzerland will be benefitted.
Register for Powerman CHARITY! The entry fee is 50 Swiss francs. You can also support the organisation by paying this fee or any amount as a donation. You can register online on www.powerman.ch by 29th August 2012 or by 31st August if you go to pay cash to “Stadtbüro” - (town office address: Kirchplatz 26, 4800 Zofingen), by letter (Powerman Zofingen, Stadtbüro, Kirchplatz 26, 4800 Zofingen), telefax (Fax 062 745 71 74) or by e-mail to email@example.com. Please address payments and information as follows: Verein Powerman, note “CHARITY”, name and surname, street, ZIP, city and e-mail address of the participant; in addition to this please let us know if running (5 km), biking (10, 20 or 30 km) or donation. Account no 0814-553824-51-1, IBAN CH34 0483 5055 3824 5100 1, CS Zofingen.
On 1st September a registration is possible at the entrée of the VIP tent (Expo behind public school in Zofingen). Please register before 10.30 am. The fee is due with the registration (cash).
At 11 am on 1st September in front of the “Rosengarten gym” the bike course will be started and at 11.30 in the “Powerman-Arena” the running distance will be opened. The arrival for all athletes will be the “Powerman-Arena”, where on the previous day the world champions have received their applause. If you choose the bike course we ask you to take your own bike with you!
Bikes for Africa
If you want to donate your no longer used bike for Africa please come to the Powerman Zofingen expo. The receiving office is at the northern entrance on the back side of the “Zofinger Gemeindeschulhaus” at General-Guisan Strasse 14, open from 08:00 to 18:00. You can also ask for a transportation voucher and post your bike at every Swiss railway station that has a cargo desk. Please order the voucher online at www.velosfuerafrika.ch or via phone 031 979 70 70 at the company Gump- & Drahtesel in Bern-Liebefeld. Or you can bring your bike also to the bike company Weishaupt Cycles in Zofingen at Brittnauerstrasse16, phone 062 752 54 54, www.weishaupt-cycles.ch.
Text: Raphael Galliker/transl:am
Caption: She already arrived in Zofingen and wants to grind up the course record from Karin Thürig from 2002: the New Zealander Melanie Burke Picture: Raphael Galliker