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.
Filed by Adam Petrie
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This Saturday, The Hague-Kijkduin will welcome the third ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships with over 650 athletes slated to compete in the 1km swim, 26km mountain bike and 9km cross-country trail run.