Long Distance Duathlon World Championships return to Zofingen
For the sixth year, ITU and Powerman will host the Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen on September 6-8. This year also marks the 25th anniversary for Powerman Zofingen. Defending champion Eva Nystrom returns to defend her crowns on the 10km run, 150km bike, 30km run course, while the men’s title is open for the taking but features a steep field gunning for the gold.
Eva Nystrom (SWE) returns in the pole position to defend her world championship title. Despite suffering an injury last year, Nystrom pulled off her first win in stunning fashion after a string of second-place finishes when she crushed the field by nearly five minutes.
“I was surprised that I was that fast last year, because last summer I was injured,” said Nystrom. “The weather conditions were ideal, I had a good day and I wanted to win because in the past I only got second three times.”
Nystrom not only has her eye on the top spot, but on a course record which was set back in 2001. While she was hoping that Lucy Gossage would help her with that goal as they push for the podium together, Nystrom will have to go it alone with Gossage not on the startlist in Switzerland.
Nystrom’s strongest competition comes from May Kerstens (NED) after her third-place finish last year. Susanne Svendsen (DEN), who finished on the podium in third place at last year’s European Championships will also look for her highest finish to date. With the absence of powerhouses like Gossage, Erika Csomor and Melanie Burke, Svendsen stands a good chance at pulling off a podium. Katrin Esefeld (GER), who finished in the top 10 at the event in the last two years, will also challenge for a medal, as will Karin Gerber (SUI).
A recent training accident has taken four-time ITU Duathlon Long Distance Duathlon Champion Joerie Vansteelant (BEL) out of contention this weekend, leaving a huge opportunity for a new champion. There is no shortage of men looking to fill Vansteelant’s absence on the podium with the likes of Rob Woestenborghs (BEL) and Roger Roca Dalmau (ESP) lining up.
Woestenborgs recently won the shorter distance Duathlon World Championships in Cali, which was included as a part of the Cali World Games. Although the Belgian has won the shorter distance a number of times, he has yet to accomplish the feat at the longer distance but this year could be his chance. Switzerland’s own Andreas Sutz is expected to contend for the title after making a full recovery from previous injuries.
Like Woestenborghs, Roca Dalmau’s has enjoyed success in the shorter race, but will now try his hand at the longer duathlon event. The always strong French team of Anthony Leduey and Thibaut Humbert will also impact the standings, with Leduey just having missed the podium at the 2013 Horst ETU Powerman Long and Sprint Distance Championships.
The elite men and women will compete on Sunday, with the women taking off at 8:00am, wile the men will start an hour later at 9:00am local time. Live coverage can be found here
With files from Raphael Galliker