I could see this coming, but I had no idea who would win the grand prize: the chance at a guy that my colleague Brad Culp and I agree upon as the future of Ironman racing (the singular time we actually agree on something): German Andreas Raelert.
The bike signing became official at TriFest, when Blue Competiton Cycles marketing manager Chance Regina pulled me aside to announce the news; Blue had just signed recent Ironman Arizona champ Andreas Raelert to ride Blue.
Just who is Andreas Raelert? If you don’t know by now, you’re in for a lesson in the next couple years. His early claim to fame is having raced on the ITU circuit, competing in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens games (finishing 12th and sixth, respectively).
Last year Raelert quietly won Ironman 70.3 Monaco (the hardest 70.3 in the world… sez me) before he nearly ran down Terenzo Bozonne at Clearwater 70.3 Worlds to finish second. Just a couple weeks later, Raelert was at fall Ironman Arizona, taking part in his first Ironman. He summarily destroyed the field, beating Chris Lieto and Jordan Rapp en route to a dominant Ironman victory. I shook my head at the apparent ease and poise in which he won that race—it was as if he had done it all before. Speaking with him after the race, he was one of the nicest guys I'd come across.
I also recall after interviewing him, the collection of triathlon brand peeps who descended upon the guy, businesss card flicked out to the friendly German. He was a hot commodity. I imagine he had quite a few bike companies pitching him, but am glad to see growing Blue (with their Triad as the rig he’ll be using in long-course racing) be the winning suitor. This kid’s stock is on the rise, and that bike is serious business.
“We’re really thrilled to have Andreas with us. We wanted to put a top-name athlete on a Blue,” Regina told me. “With this signing, it makes us a true contender for Kona, in our fifth year as a bike brand. We’re already working closely with Andreas, and will be doing some custom paint for him in some coming events, “
He makes his debut on the Triad at St. Anthony’s Triathlon. He’ll be doing some ITU races in Europe during the summer, and will be riding the RC8 in those races. While his debut at the Hawaii Ironman is a focus, so is a top finish at Ironman German in Frankfurt in July.