Danz and Ribstein take PTS2 world titles, Molina and Marc PTS3 champions in Abu Dhabi
The World Triathlon Para Championships got the 2022 Championship Finals Abu Dhabi underway on Thursday morning in Yas Bay waterfront, with twelve titles awarded across the six men’s and women’s categories.
The PS2 and PTS3 titles were again hotly contested, and the soaring temperatures throughout the morning meant that nothing could be taken for granted by any of the athletes lining up with title hopes. Watch how the races played out over on TriathlonLive.tv.
Jules Ribstein set about his task straight from the starter’s horn, only last year’s revelation Wim de Paepe (BEL) able to hang on to the Frenchman’s feet through the 750m swim. Out onto the bike, it was a stellar display from American Mohamed Lahna that saw him claw back time on the leaders, but it was Spain’s Lionel Morales who was able to find the reserves to battle his way back into second as the 5km run played out, the Belgian in the end taking the bronze comfortably as Lahna’s challenge for the medals faded in the heat.
“It’s an even better feeling than last year,” admitted Ribstein. I felt strong and relaxed and was able to race it the way I wanted. I got on top in 2019 and to stay up there is really hard, there’s a lot of athletes who want that place but led from the swim and throughout the race here so I’m happy.
In the women’s race it was USA teammates Hailey Danz and Melissa Stockwell setting the early pace in the swim and never really looking back. Spain’s Rakel Mateo Uriarte was a minute back out of the water but dropped back through the 20km bike as Australia’s Anu Francis found her rhythm and started to close in on Stockwell. Danz was flying out front and had carved out a significant advantage out of T2 that allowed her to manage the run effectively all the way to the tape despite the heat, Stockwell halving the deficit to the leader and taking silver ahead of Francis with the fastest run split of the day.
“It was a good day,” said a happy Danz after successfully defending her title. “I worked well with Melissa Stockwell and we were able to break away and come out first, but I knew my bike was my strength and I was able to get out of transition first and focus on making up the most ground possible. I went really hard on the bike and I’m recovering from a crash I had about 6 weeks ago so I definitely played it safe on some of the corners. By the run I knew where I was, so played a bit of a self-preservation game.”
Nico Van Der Burgt was chasing Spain’s Daniel Molina from the very first strokes of the swim, the two emerging from the water in close contact and the Dutchman then sticking to his rival’s wheel and managing to pass over the latter stages of the 20km ride. Behind them, Colin Wallace (GBR) was edging his way closer to Germany’s Max Gelhaar, but it was never enough to put the bronze in doubt, and after Molina was able to then move back up to Der Burgt and pass him for the decisive time and run to gold, the young German had the race of his life to take bronze.
“A really tough race because of the heat,” said Molina. “I was leading until the third lap of the bike, but I knew that the run is my strength so I just tried to keep the distance under control. Once into the running shoes, I managed to catch up and enjoy the race, this venue is fabulous! I am European champion, now World champion and now i’m just thinking of the road to Paris. It is the first time that my class will be at the Paralympics so I just want to qualify and then dream about becoming a Paralympic champion.”
The women’s race was a straight shootout between Elise Marc of France and Netherlands’ young Sanne Koopman, the French number one ultimately regaining the title she last won in Lausanne in 2019 comfortably after exiting the water over two minutes ahead of her rival and extending the lead with every lap of the bike and run, Koopman taking her first World Championship experience in her stride with a big future ahead.
“It was such a lovely day today on the course, I want to thank all the supporters out there,” said Marc. “Now, the goal is set on Paris 2024, even though my category is not represented at the Paralympics but I have the opportunity to qualify through classing-up, so that’s my goal for the next year. I need to be on top of my game.”
Related Event: 2022 World Triathlon Championship Finals Abu Dhabi
|Results: PTS2 Men|
|3.||Wim De Paepe||BEL||01:09:53|
11:35 - 21 Nov, 2022