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Short course stars win big in Spain and the Philippines to secure Taupo World Champs slots

Leo Bergere (FRA) and Henri Schoeman (RSA), plus Laura Madsen (DEN) and Els Visser (NED) won in Valencia and the Philippines this weekend.

Staff Reporter
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Former world champion Leo Bergere once again demonstrated his brilliance over the middle distance last weekend, as the Frenchman secured victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Valencia and qualified for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in 2024.

On the other side of the world, fellow short course star and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Henri Schoeman was also victorious over the middle distance, as the South African won IRONMAN 70.3 Lapu-Lapu Cebu.

In the women’s races, rising Danish star Laura Madsen took the victory in Valencia, whilst in the Philippines Els Visser doubled back after her podium at the Singapore T100 to take an impressive victory.

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IRONMAN 70.3 Valencia – Is Bergere the dark horse for Taupo?

Whilst many consider Hayden Wilde and Marten Van Riel to be the main WTCS based contenders for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship title this season, Bergere highlighted once again in Valencia why he shouldn’t be ruled out.

IRONMAN 70.3 Valencia 2024 Leo Bergere wins
Photo Credit: @Carlositurbe for IRONMAN

Beating last year’s World Championship third place finisher Jan Stratmann by more than three minutes in Spain, the 2022 WTCS Champion took this third career middle distance win and completely dominated across the swim, bike and run.

In Taupo, Bergere should certainly be held in the same regard as Wilde, Van Riel or Jelle Geens, and if he misses out on Olympic selection for Paris, would be an interesting addition to the T100 Tour as a wildcard in London or Ibiza.

Battling for second place in Valencia, Stratmann was just able to hold off his compatriot Jannik Shaufler in an intense sprint finish, as he too picked up his spot for Taupo in December.

Madsen, whose best finish before this race was runner-up last year at Challenge Peguera Mallorca, biked her way to victory in Valencia, beating established names such as Caroline Pohle and Kona third place finisher Laura Philipp.

Down in fourth, the PTO World #6 will be disappointed to have missed out on the podium, but made her main reason for racing in Valencia, to validate her spot at the IRONMAN World Championship, very clear before toeing the start line.

IRONMAN 70.3 Valencia, Spain – Sunday 21st April 2024
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO MEN

  • 1. Leo Bergere (FRA) – 3:40:24
  • 2. Jan Stratmann (GER) – 3:43:25
  • 3. Jannik Shaufler (GER) – 3:43:26

PRO WOMEN

  • 1. Laura Madsen (DEN) – 4:09:58
  • 2. Lena Meibner (GER) – 4:11:46
  • 3. Caroline Pohle (GER) – 4:12:11

IRONMAN 70.3 Lapu-Lapu Cebu: Schoeman continues to impress

Picking up his first middle distance win in Cebu, Schoeman led from gun-to-tape and secured a second successive middle distance podium, after finishing second behind Van Riel at IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain in December.

Whilst his short course race results haven’t been up to his high standards over the past twelve months, Schoeman’s growing ability over the middle distance will be a real asset when the 32-year-old decides what he wants to pursue post Paris Olympics.

Beating Kiwi Sam Osborne, who won IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong last month, plus former short course rival Tom Bishop, Schoeman took down some strong competition and can take confidence from that leading into the rest of the year.

In the women’s race, Visser was once again flawless on the bike-run in the Philippines, just as she was the weekend before in Singapore and demonstrated how much of a threat she is over this distance.

Els Visser t100 Singapore 2024 run finish photo credit PTO
[Photo credit: PTO]

Beating Anne Reischmann of Germany and Hungarian Zsanett Bragmayer, Visser picked up her second win and fifth podium of the season, having raced every single month of the year so far.

IRONMAN 70.3 Lapu-Lapu Cebu, Philippines – Sunday 21st April 2024
1.9km / 90km / 21.1km

PRO MEN

  • 1. Henri Schoeman (RSA) – 4:02:31
  • 2. Sam Osborne (NZL) – 4:06:40
  • 3. Tom Bishop (GBR) – 4:11:01

PRO WOMEN

  • 1. Els Visser (NED) – 4:21:29
  • 2. Anne Reischmann (GER) – 4:24:39
  • 3. Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN) – 4:36:41
Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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