By Fergus Murray on 10/11/10 at 9:35 pm
After kicking off in Sydney, the second round of the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series headed to yet another Olympic city, Seoul. The South Korean capital has a history of staging world class sporting events and is one of the few cities to have hosted both an Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. This race marked just the second time an ITU event was held in Seoul.
On the women’s side, much of the pre-race attention focused on 2008 Olympic gold medallist Emma Snowsill who was making her much anticipated 2010 debut at the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Seoul. A lot of eyes were also on Chilean Barbara Riveros Diaz who entered the event ranked number one in the world following her stunning triumph in Sydney.
Out on the 40-kilometre bike course, three distinct packs came together and approximately 30 women rode into the second transition together. As they began the 10-kilometre run, reigning World Champion Emma Moffatt charged to the front and pulled away from the field. She looked to have the win locked up until the final lap. Moffatt herself later admitted she began to suffer which allowed the other women to pull even with her.
Six women were in contention in the late stages but the final finish boiled down to a spectacular sprint between Moffatt, Riveros Diaz and Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf. Unable to replicate back-to-back wins, Riveros Diaz just fell short as Ryf led the push to the finish line for her first career World Championship Series win.
“I was really suffering toward the end,” said Ryf, the Under23 World Champion from 2008. “I’m so surprised I was able to pull it out. I just tried to focus on my technique to keep it together at the end.”
Moffatt, last year’s World Champion, rounded out the podium. Her compatriot Snowsill finished sixth in her season opener.
In the men’s race that followed, a star-studded field of close to 70 elite men dove into the chilly Han River for the 1.5-kilometre swim and most of them exited together as the athletes hit the streets of Seoul for the 40-kilometre bike.
As the men headed out onto the 10-kilometre run course, Olympic gold medallist Jan Frodeno of Germany and Australian Courtney Atkinson broke away from the field immediately. It was a fierce duel to the very end as the two ran side-by-side for nearly the entire run. But in the final 30 meters, Frodeno found another gear and charged to the finish line, showing the same magic that elevated him to Olympic gold in 2008.
“Courtney went out really hard on the run and it was tough to catch up to him out of transition. When I finally did, we started working together very well and were able to build a nice gap on the rest of the guys,” Frodeno said after the race. “I just wanted to hold on until the finish line. I had a bit of confidence in my sprint. It was a nice long finishing straight which really played into my favour.”
Atkinson settled for the silver while countryman Brad Kahlefeldt finished third.
Find more details about this event - 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series Seoul