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Light wind and low sun was the perfect environment for Katie Hewison (GBR) to earn her first world title at the 2011 Gijon ITU Duathlon World Championships.
“I had a lot of injuries last year, and wasn’t able to train much, so this is a fantastic result for me,” Hewison said. “I’m really, really happy.”
Hewison proved to be a strong competitor throughout the race, riding and running with the lead group the entire race. However, she never took the lead until the final run portion of the competition.
Instead, it was 2010 runner-up Sandra Levenez (FRA) who wasted no time in making her way to the front. Right from the beginning, she took command of the race, heading up a 12-person run pack on the first lap.
Levenez, determined not to let this year’s title slip away from her, got a head start on the bike with the top runners. Meanwhile, the remaining athletes struggled to form chase groups more than a minute back. A small contingency of just five women, which included Hewison, formed the lead group on the biking portion.
Midway through the bike portion, Levenez sat back and allowed the group to pull her, occasionally giving up her number one spot. She traded places with the leaders, never of who were Hewison. While Levenez pumped the pace of the bike, Hewison strategically drafted in the middle of the group.
It was a decision that paid off, as Hewison quickly overtook Levenez when they put feet to pavement. Hewison pulled nine seconds ahead on the first of two laps, followed by Levenez who ran shoulder to shoulder with Jenny Schulz (GER).
Outside of the stadium, Schulz recovered the nine seconds to speed past Hewison in the last kilometer. However, in a massive last-ditch effort over the final 50 meters, Hewison fought back to blast past Schulz and cross the finish at 2:02:45.
“I had a lot of injuries last year, and wasn’t able to train much, so this is a fantastic result for me,” said Hewison. “I’m really, really happy. I was a little rusty in the beginning, but I found my legs. The bike was really hard and fast at times. I just had to be patient and keep pushing. I am so delighted. Words can’t even tell you.”
Shulz earned silver in 2:02:47, while Levenez settled for third in 2:02:54.
“I defintely didn’t expect this,” said Shulz. “I am very happy with second place. It was a perfect race.”
“I was hoping to win,” said Levenez. “I finished second last year, and I really wanted to win this year. I had some trouble breathing on the run though. I was hoping to hold on, but it didn’t happen.”
Earlier in the day, a contingency of youth females competed in the junior duathlon world championship race. Running specialist Joseline Brea (VEN) used the two run portions of the duathlon to control the race. She bolted to an early 30-second lead after the first transition.
Brea let her lead slip on the bike, allowing the chase pack to close in on the first lap. By midway, four women battled for three medal positions with a 37-second lead. However, Brea proved too fiery on the pavement, and put 26 seconds between her and the group on the final 2.5 km run. She became the new Gijon ITU duathlon junior world champion in 1:03.12.
|Results: Elite Women|
|5.||Ainhoa Murua Zubizarreta||ESP||02:03:47|