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A call for Challenge Family to officially acknowledge the Pro Athletes who Completed Entire Race Course at Challenge Dubai

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At Challenge Dubai on February 27, 2015 five (5) athletes unintentionally cut off 2.5-kilometers from the race course around the 50-kilometer point of the event during the cycling leg of the triathlon.

At the time of the infraction, the five riders including: Michael Raelert, Terenzo Bozzone, Manual Kung, Andy Potts and Ben Collins were behind race leader Martin Jensen, and 30 seconds in front of Joe Gambles and Tim Reed, the three of whom did not cut the course.

This course cutting, while unintentional, drastically changed the dynamic of the event and was not penalized until after the race was finished and a protest was filed by three athletes (not including Jensen who was receiving medical attention and not able to file protest or attend hearing).

The jury who heard the protest ruled that a 4 (four) minute penalty would be added to the five athletes' times as was deemed the time saved by not completing the prescribed course. Jurors deemed that traveling at 40km/h it would have taken the athletes 3 minutes and 45 seconds to complete the 2.5-km section of race course that was cut. They rounded it up to 4 minutes.

Athletes were not provided an opportunity to protest the ruling of the 4-minute penalty and only learned of the penalty assessed at the event's official awards ceremony hours after the protest hearing took place.

Whether done intentionally or unintentionally, cutting the race course is a rule infraction that results in an athlete failing to complete the course, an essential matter for fair racing and precedent shows results in an automatic disqualification.

A few of those five athletes have publicly acknowledged in subsequent interviews with media (links below) they realized that while they cut the course unintentionally it was their responsibility as athletes to know the race course.

In most events worldwide, a disqualification is issued (DQ).

Reed was the first athlete who completed the whole course and crossed the finish line in 4th place. After adjusting for the 4-minute penalty, Reed was awarded 2nd place, Jensen 5th and Gambles 10th. Bozzone retained 1st place. Raelert was bumped from 2nd to 3rd.

The missed opportunity for Reed to be declared the race winner was significant in terms of media attention for him and his sponsors, his income earning potential from prize money and performance earning bonuses from sponsors, and the missed opportunity to compete for the Challenge Triple Crown Series $1 million dollar purse, the award for any athlete winning the hat trick of races including: Challenge Dubai, Challenge Oman and Challenge Bahrain.

The same could be said for Jensen who went from leading the bike with a significant advantage and receiving the lion's share of the live video coverage into a position where he was out of the top five and was forced to repass athletes (he repassed everyone except Bozzone by the end of the bike). In following the prescribed course, Jensen lost the platform he had earned to showcase his abilities by exiting first off the bike as well as running from out in the lead and fighting for a podium position.

We are not asking for the athletes who unintentionally cut the course to be DQ'd retroactively. We understand Challenge was presented with a very difficult situation and attempted to make a fair judgement.

Please sign if you agree the penalty assessed at Challenge Dubai did not accurately take into account the course cutting infraction that occurred and that Challenge should acknowledge Reed as a race winner for having been the first athlete to complete the prescribed course and be reinstated into the Challenge Triple Crown Series running.

The same could be said that Jensen's 5th place should be considered a 3rd place podium finish and Gambles 10th should be 9th. Each of those three athletes had placements and subsequent prize earning opportunities taken away due to the inadvertent course cutting.

Andy Potts Interview:

Michael Raelert Blog:

Martin Jensen Interview:

Thank You.

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