Conrad Stoltz goes back to back at ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships
South Africa’s Conrad Stoltz stormed through the bike and run to win the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Shelby County, Alabama. Craig Evans of the USA finished a strong race for silver and Christopher Legh of Australia, took home the bronze.
This is Stoltz’s second consecutive ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship win after he took the inaugural title in Spain last year, as well as his sixth consecutive XTERRA win on the Shelby County course.
“I am really really proud, “ said Stoltz. “It is something to achieve so I am really proud to do this for my country.”
The sun was at full strength as the men entered the water for the 1.5km swim. Richard Stannard (GBR) took a sharp lead in the first lap and carried through heading into T2 with a strong field of contenders behind him in a tight second pack. Sergio Sarmiento (MEX), Leandro Lobo (VEN), Jean-Phillipe Thibodeau (CAN) and Sean Bechtel (CAN) hung on to their positions heading into T2 with Stoltz coming out of the water at just over a minute behind the leader.
After the first bike leg, Stoltz had not only catapulted up the ranks but was in a close battle with Craig Evans (USA) for first place.
“I didn’t realize I was making gaps as big as that on the bike,” said Stoltz. “Normally I really wouldn’t consider this my course because I am so tall. I don’t see myself as the king of corners.”
Stoltz continued to gain momentum on the bike and drove more of a time wedge between him and the ensuing pack, consisting of Evans, Stannard, Branden Rakita (USA), Bechtal and Legh. Heading in to the run, Stoltz remained a minute ahead of the pack.
On the first lap of the run, Stoltz remained strong with Evans coming up the rear. A possible setback arose for Legh as he was called in the penalty box on a helmet violation while Rakita and Josiah Middaugh (USA) moved closer to narrowing the gap to third position.
Coming through on the stretch with a 30-second lead, Stoltz powered his way to victory with Evans, in second place, crossing the finish line exuberantly.
“There were a lot of things going through my mind in this race. I had goose bumps the entire race,” said Evans. “What a celebration and second place is beyond a dream….I can’t put this one into words, it is beyond exciting.”
In the men’s junior race earlier in the day, taking a commanding lead in the swim and bike, South Africa’s Bradley Schuit powered through the run to win gold. Nicholas Alvarez (MEX) coasted through to take silver and bronze went to Robbie Deckard of the USA.
Bradley Weiss of South Africa won the U23 division, and posted the fastest time among all age-group racers at 2:11:23. Weiss and Slovakia’s Tomas Kubek stayed near each other for most of the course, and Weiss was finally able to forge a lead early in the run. Karsten Madsen finished third.
Related Event: 2012 Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and XTERRA Southeast Championship
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