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Camilla Pedersen wins ITU Long Distance World Champs one year after life-threatening crash




Denmark’s Camilla Pedersen won her first world title at the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in Weihai, China on Sunday. Athletes endured tough hot conditions over the 4km swim, 120km bike, 30km run course. Pedersen’s win is a remarkable comeback. Last year she suffered an accident while riding that resulted in a broken cranium, a brain fracture, a broken femur, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a chestbone compression and a shoulder injury. She was put in a medically induced coma to ease the pressure on the brain for almost three weeks.

“It is one year since my bad accident. I have come back and I am speechless,” said Pedersen.

Short course triathlon stars, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt and American Laura Bennett had the top swims, leaving the water with over a two minute lead on Pedersen. As a strong cyclist, Pedersen’s fastest bike split of the day moved her up into top position. Despite a comfortable lead she never let up, running the second fastest run split for the win. Finland’s Kaisa Lehtonen was more than four minutes back out of the swim, but also moved up on the bike to move into silver medal position. Lehtonen held onto her position with the fastest run of the day. Hewitt was in contention for top spot when she crashed, but managed to hang on for third.

In the men’s race, France took the entire podium with Bertrand Billard retaining his title and Sylvain Sudrie and Viennot Cyril taking second and third respectively.

“The organisation (of the race) is perfect,” Billard said. “I would like to thank the French Team, my family and my partners.”

Craig Alexander rode his way back in the race after losing time on the swim, eventually finishing fifth.