Comerford wins ITU World Long Distance Triathlon Championships

Comerford wins ITU World Long Distance Triathlon Championships

By ITU Admin on 19/11/06 at 12:00 am

Bella Comerford has been crowned as women’s ITU World Long Distance Triathlon Champion after taking victory in Canberra, Australia earlier today. The Scotswoman, who won the Florida Ironman just weeks ago, was fired up coming into the race and took it by storm.

The race started at Lake Burley Griffin with the 4km swim over a two lap course with Linda Gallo of the USA leading the women’s pack out in a time of 55 minutes before the transition onto the 120km bike. Comerford started her surge here as the four lap course took in Parliament Hill, the lake and a sapping hill climb through Coppins Crossing. By lap four the wind started blowing making it particularly tough going.

Johanna Daumas of France lead by three and a half minutes coming into transition two, with Comerford sitting in pack with crowd favourite, Melissa Ashton of Australia and the Italian, Martina Dogana. Edith Niederfringer, also of Italy was in fifth, seven minutes behind Daumas.

With just 30k to go on the flat three lap run of the southern edge of the lake it meant that there was still time left for major movements in the field to crown the 2006 World Champion. As the runners passed and re-passed the main race area, the spectators could easily follow the changes. The first major incident happened when Melissa Ashton dropped out at the 10k mark with Comerford taking over second. As the laps wore on the temperature soared to 34C and Daumas surrendered her lead to Comerford, and then second place to Niedergriniger.

Bella Comerford was crowned the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Champion as she finished in a time of 6:55:32 ahead of Edith Niederfriniger, 6:57:17, and the early leader Johanna Daumas, 7:00:50. The effort of the race clearly showed in Bellas face as she grasped the finish tape in jubilation. Erika Csomor, 7:05:13, the sole Hungarian entrant, was fourth with Martina Dogana coming in fifth in a time of 7:05:37.

Britain’s Sarah Gross took a fantastic sixth place finish having been in the top five for much of the ride, with Abigail Bayley a commendable ninth on the tough course, making it three Brits in the top 10! Rachel Horn, Britain’s other elite woman crossed the line in 15th.

Bella said of her victory: [It was] very warm but the clouds helped. I felt very strong coming into race. Very tough hills, tired and tough. I concentrated and had to give it my all in the last kilometer as some one shouted Italy behind me.

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