French dominate in Targu Mures as Le Bihan wins Duathlon world title
It was another French one-two-three in the Targu Mures Multisport World Championships on Friday, as Krilan Le Bihan soared to the gold on a steamy afternoon of Duathlon World Championships at the Transylvania Moto Ring. The 2019 World Champion Benjamin Choquert made up 90 seconds over the final 5km after being dropped on the bike, but ultimately ran out of course before being able to really pressure the leader, Maxime Hueber-Moosbrugger running his way to the bronze.
“It’s incredible, I went out in front on the bike and it was really hard, so I was thinking the run would be really hard as I was coming out of transition,” said a cramping Le Bihan. “Choquert ran very fast so I had to be careful, it was a good battle to get the title. Last year was a really hard race in the U23 championships, but this year my preparation was good and I’ve been hoping for this title for a long time. To have three medals for France is fantastic.”
The clouds were gathering over the race circuit high in the Targu Mures countryside but the rain held off as the men lined up for the 10km run that got the 2022 Duathlon World Championships – the final individual events of a week-long feast of multisports in Transylvania – underway.
After the cagey opening stages, a nine-strong group broke free at the halfway point led by Choquert, Le Bihan and Arnaud Dely (BEL), leaving three distinct groups scything through the undulating course. Behind the leaders, Simon Davis (GBR) was alongside a Belgian trio of Giani Vanden Broucke, Vincent Bierinckx and Aaron Decloet all looking to keep in touch with the front runners.
Defending champion Nathan Guerbeur was tucked in with the leaders at the final turn as they started the long loop back down to the first transition, Italy’s Andrea Sanguinetti first in, Dely first out but having to stop after dropping a shoe and losing precious time, albeit with a minute to spare to the first chasers.
There were five French athletes in the front seven after lap one of the five, Sanguinetti and Dely breaking the tricolor stranglehold, Thibaut De Smet (BEL) and Netherlands’ Daan De Groot among the nine athletes 45 seconds back.
Monday’s Cross Duathlon World Champion De Smet (BEL) led a break from the chasers to merge with the leaders on the 4th lap as the Belgian train drove onwards, before then getting away again with Le Bihan, Guerbeur and De Groot for company, Hueber-Moosgroober now with the eight athletes over a minute back.
De Smet was out of transition first of those four, Le Bihan for company as De Groot and Guerbeur lost ground. Hueber-Moosbrugger was first onto the 5km chase, but Le Bihan was putting the hammer down out front and pulling well clear, putting 25 seconds into the Belgian on the first 2.5km.
Choquert was going through the gears and the field further back and was soon into third, passing the tiring De Smet whose bike exertions looked to have taken a toll and settling into the silver medal position before Hueber-Moosbrugger did likewise to find himself in third as the demanding course saw the field well broken up.
There was tobe no catching Le Bihan who motored to the tape, Choquert with the silver and Hueber-Moosbrugger bronze to complete another great day for the French. De Smet finished with another U23 World title and fourth ahead of fellow Belgian Dely.
Full results available here.
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