By ITU Admin on 23/09/08 at 12:01 am
Olympic silver medallist Vanessa Fernandes headlines the elite competition at this Saturday’s ITU Duathlon World Championships in Rimini, Italy. One of the most accomplished athletes in ITU history and known as one of the two greatest runners in triathlon today, Fernandes is perhaps less known as one of the strongest cyclists in the world. She was introduced to triathlon in 1999 by her father Venceslau Fernandes, a former cyclist and winner of the 1984 Volta a Portugal. Four years later she became junior Duathlon world champion.
Last year Fernandes won her first elite Duathlon world championship in Gyor, Hungary and will defend her title this weekend in Rimini against a field that includes Duathlon star Catriona Morrison. Her resume includes a silver medal in 2005, gold medal in 2006, last year’s European Duathlon championship and the last two Long Distance Duathlon World Championships. Last year in Gyor she finished a disappointing ninth place but this year will likely challenge Fernandes for the top spot.
On the men’s side, two-time Duathlon world champion Paul Amey of Great Britain defends the world title he won last year in Hungary. Most recently Amey took silver at the ETU Long Distance Triathlon European Championships earlier this month in Gerardmer, France. This weekend he’ll face still competition from Belgium and Portugal to repeat as champion.
Notably among his challengers will be Joerie Vansteelant, who successfully defended his long distance world championship last month in front of home crowds. The Belgian has yet to podium in the short course world championships but was the under23 world champion twice. Also in the field will be Vansteelant’s Belgian teammate Jurgen Dereere who has finished runner-up at the Duathlon world championships for the past two years. Sergio Silva and Lino Barruncho will carry Portuguese medal hopes in the men’s field. Silva was a bronze medallist in Gyor last year and the under23 world champion from 2006. Other notables to watch include Rob Woestenborghs of Belgium and Javier Garcia of Spain.
In all there are more than 1200 duathletes representing 39 countries this weekend contesting age-group, AWAD, junior and under23 categories.
The Duathlon world championships are the 19th in ITU history. Rimini is located on the east coast of Italy, approximately 120 kilometers southeast of Bologna. It will be the third time Italy will host the Duathlon world championships and the second time for Rimini. Ferrara was the first Italian city to host in 1996.
Vanessa Fernandes wins the 2007 ITU Duathlon World Championship in Gyor, Hungary
Find more details about this event - 2008 Rimini ITU Duathlon World Championships