Kona Kings & Queens is a collaboration project with sports photographer James Mitchell to highlight some of the Pros racing in Kona. James supplies his awesome pictures (for more check his Instagram account), I add some data and commentary.
In the last few years, Bart has been racing well in Kona, with a second-place finish last year as his best result. Still, the quiet Belgian probably won’t factor in many race predictions. This is partly because he is losing a fair chunk of time in the swim (around 6 minutes to Jan Frodeno), and while he has improved his bike in recent years, he hasn’t yet become a “bike powerhouse” on the level of Sebastian Kienle or Cam Wurf. His real strength is on the run, especially in the Kona heat. Last year he was able to bridge up to the big bike group that included Patrick Lange and then posted the second-fastest run.
Bart hasn’t had a spectacular 2019 result, but his 6th place at 70.3 Worlds indicates that his Kona form is developing nicely. If he manages a decent swim, he’ll probably have good company in the deep Kona field. A slightly more aggressive bike than in the past could help him start the run in a good position. He’s one of the few athletes with a sub-2:45 run potential in Kona, and that run speed is what he’ll need in order to finish on the Kona podium.
This is an excerpt from my “Kona 2019 Rating Report”. You can download your copy here.