Ueda earns first Duathlon World Championship title
Competing in her first Duathlon World Championship race, which was included as a part of the Cali World Games, Japan’s Ai Ueda experienced great success as she pulled ahead on the run to win the women’s title in one hour, 57 minutes and 59 seconds.
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France’s Sandra Levenez, a veteran in the event, earned her fifth Duathlon World Championship medal with a second-place finish in 1:58:59. While the pair enjoyed a sizeable lead ahead of the competition, Germany’s Jenny Schulz returned to the podium in third place with a time of 2:01:04.
Levenez took an early lead on the run-bike-run race, leading a pack of eight that included Schulz and Ueda through the four-lap run course. While Sabrina Godard (FRA) pushed to the front, the move proved too much too soon as the group quickly responded by dropping her and Schulz.
Ueda and Levenez quickly pedaled ahead on the bike, leaving Stefanie Bouma (NED) and Evgenia Sukhoruchenkova (RUS) to chase them on the six-lap cycling course. Further behind, a second chase pair of Schultz and Brea had also come together.
By the end of the first bike lap, the leaders were up 30 seconds while the chase pair behind them became a quartet when Bouma and Sukhoruchenkova were joined by Schultz and Brea. Although the four worked together, it wasn’t enough to reel in the dynamic duo in front as Ueda and Levenez owned a 1:22 advantage midway through the bike.
By the bell lap, the pair powered to a 2:45 advantage. With just two quick turns around the final 5km run course, the time difference was too much for the chase, leaving the hunt for bronze between Bouma, Sukhoruchenkova, Brea and Schultz. In a last push effort on the bike, Colombia’s Monica Calderon also pulled even with the chase to put herself in podium contention.
Ahead of them, Ueda immediately shot ahead of Levenez, announcing her intention to claim her first Duathlon World Championship title with a 30-second lead midway through the final run. The early blast proved fruitful as Ueda secured the crown by a full minute. Levenez clocked in next to take the silver, making it a hat trick of world championship silver medals for the French woman.
Meanwhile, a determined Schultz enjoyed a slight lead over Bouma with 2.5km to go. She worked to continue increasing the lead, which eventually put the German back on the podium after missing out in 2012.
Rob Woestenborghs wins men’s elite Duathlon World Championships
In a perfectly timed break on the bike, Belgium’s Rob Woestenborghs won the men’s elite ITU Duathlon World Championships, which took place as a part of the Cali World Games. The win for Woestenborghs was his first world title since 2008 and marked his return to the World Championship podium for the first time in three years.
Defending champion Emilio Martin (ESP) took silver, while France’s Benoit Nicolas scored bronze with a speedy final run.
Early in the race, a large group formed together on the four-lap 10km run course. Martin and Antoine Duvivier (BEL) led the pack at the start of the third run lap, but it was Nicolas who made it on his bike with a slight advantage.
Despite such a sizable school of men running together, Woestenborghs was not one of them. However, he quickly made up a 30-second deficit on the first lap of the bike to lead the six-lap course. Spanish athletes Martin, Roger Roca Dalmau and Sergio Lorenzo Prieto answered his pace, as did France’s Nicolas and Benjamin Choquert. A host of other men rode with them, including Duvivier, Thomas Bruins (NED), Sergio Silva (POR) and Philip Wylie (GBR).
But all of that changed when the experienced Woestenborghs, Martin and Roca Dalmau broke away for a 50-second advantage midway through the cycling course. The trio worked together to increase that lead to a minute on the next lap.
Then a determined Woestenborghs decided to make a risky break at the end of the bike, leaving the pair of Spaniards in an attempt to return to the podium for the first time since 2010. With a minute advantage off the bike, the Belgian bulldozed for the podium through the 5km run.
The early move proved to be a smart decision for him, with the time gap too great for the field to overtake on the final two-lap run circuit. Woestenborghs reclaimed his spot at the top of the Duathlon empire in 1:43:39. With the gold, he now owns five World Championship medals, including a silver in long distance.
Behind him, cramps began to plague Roca Dalmau’s chances from medalling late in the bike, giving teammate Martin room to sprint by for a clear shot at silver, which he eventually claimed in 1:44:23. Nicolas, who had trailed Roca Dalmau by more than a minute at T2, capitalized on the Spaniard’s poor state to hammer home on the run for bronze in 1:45:46.