Erbenova earns Cross Triathlon World Championship crown
Czech Republic’s Helena Erbenova stormed to victory to claim gold medal in the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships at The Hague-Kijkduin. Erbenova finished in two hours, 22 minutes and 11 seconds, a massive five minutes ahead of 2012 champion Lesley Paterson (GBR), who took silver in 02:27:25. Chantell Widney (CAN) claimed bronze in 02:30:43.
It was a case of déjà vu for spectators in the Netherlands after Erbenova won the 2012 European Cross Triathlon title on the same course. The Czech now adds the Cross Triathlon gold medal to the world championship title she won at the 2013 ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships in Cogne in Italy.
Erbenova was two minutes behind the leaders after the 1km swim but put in a powerful display on the 26km mountain bike leg to enter T2 with a three-minute lead. Erbenova didn’t slow down in the 9km cross-country run, extending her lead to five minutes by the time she crossed the line for gold.
Bronze medallist Widney was the first on the bike after exiting the water in 11:33, which was 20 seconds ahead of Jacqueline Slack (GBR) and Paterson. And it was the British pair of Paterson and Slack who started out quickest on the bike before Erbenova first caught the leaders to build her commanding lead.
Another strong cyclist, Renata Bucher (SUI), brought herself into contention and went into T2 in third place, 15 seconds behind Paterson in second but almost three minutes ahead of Widney. Slack had dropped further back after experiencing a tough bike section.
With Erbenova not looking like she could be caught during the sandy cross country run, the race to see who joined her on the podium intensified, and it was Paterson and Widney who rose to the challenge. A 50:16 run by Bucher cost her a chance of a medal, while Slack wasn’t able to make up enough ground and finished in fifth.
Stoltz stupendous for third Cross Triathlon World Championships victory
South Africa’s Conrad Stoltz made it a hat-trick of ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships wins with an impressive performance at The Hague-Kijkduin. “The Caveman” won in 2011 and 2012 and looked as strong as ever, holding off a valiant challenge from Spain’s Ruben Ruzafa in the closing stages of the 1km swim, 26km bike, and 9km cross country run race.
Stoltz finished in two hours, one minute and 38 seconds, with Ruzafa claiming silver in 02:01:52 and France’s Brice Daubord completing the podium in a time of 02:02:37.
It was Australia’s Ben Allen who took the initiative in the swim, exiting the water after 09:22 in first place, ahead of under-23 athlete Marco Akershoek (NED) and Daubord.
Allen has won five World Tour victories this year and stayed with the leaders throughout the bike, but ran out of steam in the second lap of the run and was unable to find any reserves to challenge for a medal, ultimately finishing in eighth.
Meanwhile, Stoltz exited the swim in seventh place but it wasn’t long before his world championship pedigree began to show. By the end of the first lap on the bike he had taken a lead which he never let go.
It was no surprise to see world-class mountain biker Ruzafa burst through the field during the bike leg. Ruzafa exited the water in 15th place but his expertise on the bike saw him climb into second going into T2, just over one minute behind Stoltz. Where there was a little more surprise was the fact that Ruzafa gave Stoltz a real fight in the closing stages of the run. Ruzafa blistered through the second and third laps as Stoltz tired, but he was unable to overtake the South African.
After a strong swim, Daubord slipped a few places in the bike, but came back stronger during the run to push back into bronze medal position, finishing almost 30 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Kris Coddens, who clocked 02:03:04.
In the under-23 field, local boy Cornelis Scheltinga (NED) claimed gold in 02:09:28. That time saw Scheltinga finish 14th overall. Tomas Kubek (SVK) wasn’t far behind in 02:09:50 to win silver and Jarrich Van Woersem (NED) claimed bronze in a time of 02:10:09.
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