Graham Shaw22 Nov 2021

Maurice Clavel reflects on ‘unbelievable’ South Africa win

Maurice Clavel and Rasumus Svenningsson give their reaction to IRONMAN South Africa 2021 after a gruelling race in Port Elizabeth.
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Maurice Clavel was lost for words when he ran down fellow German Sebastian Kienle to claim a first IRONMAN victory in South Africa.

The 33-year-old was too strong for Kienle in the closing stages, making the pass with around 7km to go before surging clear to claim a Kona spot for October 2022.

Clavel on beating Kienle

Afterwards a very happy Maurice said: “It’s amazing. It’s unbelievable and I did it and yeah, I don’t know what to say.”

The mutual respect between the German pair was clear, with Kienle paying tribute to the race winner, while Clavel saw it as a very special way to break that IRONMAN duck.

“Sebi, he is a beast you know. Even though he struggled with the injury all year and still he was in first place, it’s unbelievable.”

Clavel reflected on a tough race, which started with the swim course halved due to water conditions.

He admitted: “I had a good preparation leading up to this race and this is what saved me for the win.

“In about kilometre 30 I was like ‘oh man it’s gonna be a sprinting decision, so close once again’. But then I said ‘like okay, I need to win’.”

On the conditions, Clavel revealed: “It was really really tough, I never swam in such conditions. It was kind of fun you know but also really really hard.

Tough conditions

“On the bike, Rasmus (Svenningsson), he is like unbelievable. He wasn’t impressed, he just went in front and he was hammering and we just tried to follow. At the end I couldn’t follow any more.

“But then I paced well on the run, and yes, I won.”

For the aforementioned Svenningsson, who would eventually claim third, it was a successful return to a place which holds a special place in his heart. The scene of his first Age-Group victory back in 2018, when he first thought becoming a PRO might be a real ambition.

Svenningsson happy to be back

“The bike was the fun part today. It’ s a great bike course, it’s brutally hard, especially with the wind and the rough road. It suits me perfectly. For a power biker like me, that’s great.

“It’s been an amazing season for me. I wanted one last really good race and South Africa and Port Elizabeth holds a special place in my heart. This is where I won my first Age-Group win back in 2018. A lot has happened since then.

“It’s a little bit like a seed was planted, you know ‘maybe I could go pro one day’ after that race in 2018. It was great to be back.”