Going the distance: Previewing the 2011 Henderson Long Distance Triathlon World Championships

by Merryn Sherwood on 29 Oct, 2011 10:27 • Español

The ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships have never been for the faint of heart. At triple the Olympic distance, they are the survival of the fittest. But this year’s ITU endurance world titles have an added challenge, they are smack bang in the middle of the Nevada desert in Henderson.

Just outside one of the world’s entertainment capitals of Las Vegas, the battle for these elite world championships will be decided over a 4km swim, at the Lake Las Vegas resort. Then it’s onto a 120km bike ride through the Lake Mead National Recreational area, that includes more than 7000 feet of climbs. It all finishes with a 30km run that has an additional 2000 feet elevation gain.

Elite Men’s Preview
Defending champion Sylvain Sudrie (FRA) is back and aiming to become the fourth man to win consecutive ITU long distance world championships. Belgium’s Luc Van Lierde was the first to do it, in 1997-1998, before Denmark’s Peter Sandvang won three consecutive titles from 1999 to 2001. Most recently, it was Sudrie’s compatriot Julien Loy who won gold twice in a row, in 2007 and 2008.

But overall, it’s tough to pick who might have the form in a race packed with talent. For one, Loy is back and aiming for his third crown, and also in the mix is current European long distance champion Miquel Blanchart. Germany’s Michael Raelert might have missed Kona through injury this year, as his brother Andreas Raelert ran into second behind Craig Alexander, but before then he was on record-breaking 70.3 pace. He’s also coming off a 70.3 win in Austin, Texas, last week.

American Jordan Rapp, who won Ironman Canada in August, marked a triumphant return after a car crash that left him with serious injuries in 2010. Rapp’s cheersquad will also be familiar to ITU fans, he’s married to Canadian Jill Savege. Savege is a multiple World Cup winner and Pan Am Games gold medallist and now a mother, after the couple had their first child in June this year.

Others to watch for include Australia’s Joe Gambles and David Dellow and New Zealand’s Kieran Doe. Also given Denmark’s record in this event (they’ve won five titles), keep an eye on 2009 bronze medallist Martin Jensen (DEN) and Esben Hovgaard, who finished eighth last year.

Click here to view the men’s start list

Elite Women’s Preview
Reigning champion Caroline Steffen (SUI) is also back to try and defend the title she won last year, but last year’s Kona runner up will have to compete against a stellar list of women in Henderson.

No doubt Leanda Cave will be keen to get herself, and Great Britain’s women back on top of the ITU podium. Before Steffen’s win last year, GBR had won the previous four ITU long distance titles thanks to Cave, Chrissie Wellington, Jodie Swallow and Bella Comerford. Cave - who was also crowned ITU Triathlon World Champion in Cancun in 2002 - is on the start list again this year.

Others aiming to take the title off Steffen will be current European women’s champion, Camilla Pedersen (DEN) and the runner-up Michelle Vesterby (DEN). Hungary’s Erika Csomor claimed silver back in 2007 in this event and is also a world class duathlete, claiming bronze in the 2011 ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon Championship in Zofingen earlier this year.

But the real battle for Steffen could be the one from another rising long distance star Mary Beth Ellis (USA). Ellis completed three ironmans in eight weeks earlier this year, and won them all, including breaking Erin Baker‘s 21-year old race record in Penticton, Canada. Ellis also raced at Kona, but finished 15th.

Click here to view the women’s start list

The 2011 Henderson ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships get underway when elite men’s wave starts at 7am (local time) on Saturday November 5, followed by the elite women’s wave from 7.05.

Article gallery
Related Event: 2011 Henderson ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships
05 Nov, 2011 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Jordan Rapp USA 05:00:15
2. Joe Gambles AUS 05:02:57
3. Sylvain Sudrie FRA 05:03:23
4. Martin Jensen DEN 05:05:23
5. Nicholas Thompson USA 05:11:38
Results: Elite Women
1. Rachel Joyce GBR 05:34:15
2. Leanda Cave GBR 05:37:35
3. Meredith Kessler USA 05:40:45
4. Nikki Butterfield AUS 05:44:34
5. Malaika Homo USA 05:46:37
Results: Paratriathlon Male TRI-1
1. Jason Gradyan USA 09:00:06
Results: Paratriathlon Male TRI-3
1. Sean Vangerena USA 07:16:03
2. Nick Ruane NZL 07:57:52
Results: Paratriathlon Male TRI-5
1. Chris Chandles USA 08:21:41
2. Earl Barnes USA 08:56:56
DNF. Michael Johnston USA DNF
Results: 18-19 Male AG
1. Armand Moini USA 06:53:33
2. Brian Lentz USA 08:03:02
3. Caleb Schneider USA 08:42:30
Results: 20-24 Male AG
1. Pierre-Yves Gigou CAN 05:27:10
2. Ryan Waddington AUS 05:33:22
3. Kervarec Frank FRA 05:48:29
4. Anthony Jagielo USA 05:52:17
5. Philip Hatzis GBR 05:58:33
Results: 20-24 Female AG
1. Holly Claridge AUS 06:30:17
2. Lynette Van Der Merwe RSA 06:35:38
3. Emily Weeks CAN 07:31:03
4. Pamela Gudenau USA 07:32:08
5. Naiely Cabrera CAN 07:39:10
Results: 25-29 Male AG
1. Alex Hooke USA 05:37:59
2. Nicholas Sigmon USA 05:40:37
3. Timothy Smith USA 05:45:33
4. Jason Jacobs USA 05:46:49
5. Gerry Marvin USA 05:47:23
Results: 25-29 Female AG
1. Dana Wagner GER 06:08:25
2. Anna Ross NZL 06:09:37
3. Christine Bare USA 06:11:31
4. Michelle Harburg USA 06:31:31
5. Erin Furness NZL 06:32:10
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