It was sixth time lucky for Sandra Levenez (FRA) as she dominated the ITU World Duathlon Championships in Pontevedra.
After four podium finishes in the last five years but no gold medal to speak of, Levenez dominated the race from start to finish to finally become ITU Duathlon World Champion.
Levenez signalled her intent from the off as she surged into the lead, taking control after just one lap of the opening 10km run. She remained in front for the four laps and exited T1 in the lead, with Sonia Bejarono (ESP) pushing hard in second place.
A quick transition saw Franziska Scheffler (GER) exit in third with Melanie Vernon (AUS) and Sabrina Monmarteau (FRA) following quickly. Levenez and Bejarono worked together to increase the gap to a minute over the opening bike laps. The three chasers were joined by a second pack that included Gillian Backhouse (AUS), Petra Fasungova (SVK) and Miriam Casillas Garcia (ESP).
The chasing pack did make ground but where Bejarono faltered and was caught, Levenez stayed strong out on her own. She maintained her lead of a minute over the course of the 8 bike laps and began her final 5km run with that lead intact.
Superb riding from Backhouse propelled her to the front of the chasers and she exited T2 in second place, followed by Scheffler and Monmarteau. The trio had a further minute gap as they started the 5km run with seemingly two podium positions to fight for.
Indeed, it was Levenez who remained composed to cross the line a clear winner in Pontevedra and finally claim the ITU World Duathlon crown.
Behind her, a real fight developed on the opening lap for the remaining podium places but Backhouse and Monmarteau did enough to over the final 5km to secure second and third respectively.