Loaded with previous world championship medallists, the battle for the men’s podium at the 2012 Nancy ITU Duathlon World Championships was hard fought. After a technical bike that saw a strong group of men ride together, Spain’s Emilio Martin overtook Belgium’s Antoine Duvivier down the finish chute for his first world title. Duvivier returned to the podium for the first time since 2009 with a silver medal, while France’s Benoit Nicolas earned his second consecutive world championship bronze.
“I wasn’t one of the favourites, I was one of the last ones to qualify for the championships, but I knew I could be in the top three,” Martin said. “I’m very happy with the victory.”
With everyone’s eye on the prize, within the first two kilometres of the initial 10km run, a dozen men merged together to form a lead pack, with Duvivier at the helm. Some dangerous men ran in the top group, including Portugal’s Sergio Silva. Midway through the six-lap run, speedy Silva emerged to head the group, consequently dropping three athletes.
With the Portugese leading, a pack of nine headed to the bike course with a 30-second advantage. A small chase group trailed thirty seconds behind, while a second chase group was a minute down.
The main chase pack slowly made up ground, gaining five seconds on the leaders midway through the bike. Duvivier, Etienne Diemunsch (FRA), and Gregory Rouault (FRA) arrived at the transition first, and took off for the final quick five kilometres, hotly trailed by a contingency of men hungry for a medal.
One of those men was Martin who joined the leaders on the first lap of the run. With two kilometres to go, Martin attempted to break away, but couldn’t shake Duvivier. In an all-out flurry to the finish, Martin finally bolted ahead in the chute just metres before the finish. He claimed his first world title by just three seconds in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 40 seconds. Duvivier crossed over next in 1:40:43.
“I did the best I could,” Duvivier said. “I didn’t expect Martin to win. I didn’t know who he was. He tried twice to outdistance us, and he finally did at the entrance to the finish. I wasn’t able to follow him.”
Benoit had a monster run to overtake a handful of men off the bike. He flew to his second consecutive bronze in 1:40:47.
“I am really, really happy,” Benoit said. “I had a great second run. It was great to compete in front of friends and family. Just after the finish line, I ran over to my family and friends before the official podium photo.”
Junior and U23 Men:
Earlier in the day, the junior men competed in the sprint distance of duathlon. In a sprint to the finish, Richard Horton (GBR) took home gold in 49:42, just edging out Matthias Steinwandter (ITA) by two seconds. Behind them, another fight for the podium was going on between Bob Haller (LUX) and Brandon Hargreaves (AUS). The bronze went to Haller who clocked in just two seconds ahead of Hargreaves in 49:56.
France had much to cheer for in the men’s U23 race, as two of the top three spots went to the French. Frenchman Thomas Andre was first to cross over in 1:41:08, followed by Albert Moreno Molins of Spain in 1:41:39 and France’s Felix Duchampt in 1:42:02.
Felicity Sheedy-Ryan made an impressive return to duathlon racing, claiming her first world title at the 2012 Duathlon World Championships in France. Defending champion Katie Hewison took silver and Sandra Levenez bronze
An all-star cast of duathletes is set to hit center stage in both the men’s and women’s races in the historic French city of Nancy. Reigning champions Katie Hewison and Roger Roca Dalmau will defend their titles.