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The elite men enjoyed similar weather conditions as their female counterparts while they vied for a world title at the 2011 Gijon ITU Duathlon World Championships. However, the men’s race saw a much less predictable finish, as each discipline hosted a new group of leaders.
While Sergio Silva (POR) won the men’s title by nearly five seconds, his position on the medal stand was uncertain for the majority of the race. A strong runner, he emerged with a slight lead following the first transition.
However, Silva, far less competitive on the bike than his feet, quickly fell out of the lead pack. Instead, he rode with a massive chase group of nearly 30 athletes that continued to lose time on the leaders throughout the race.
Meanwhile, Roger Roca Dalmau (ESP) surged to the front of the bike, followed by teammate Victor Manuel del Corral Morales (ESP). Together, the men battled with Richard Hobby (GBR), opening up more than a minute of time between themselves and the competition.
Etienne Diemunsch (FRA), competing in the U23 division, joined the lead pack and helped push the pace even further ahead of the sizeable chase group. By the time the men entered the second transition, they owned an 80-second lead.
Frenchman Diemunsch initiated an incredible transition, and ran off to demolish the elite competition by nearly 45 seconds to easily win the U23 category.
Behind him, Roca and Corral were trying to hold off Silva, who had recovered almost 50 seconds on the first lap of the final run. Down just 19 seconds with one lap to go, Silva was unstoppable.
“There were many attacks on the bike, but we couldn’t catch up,” Silva said. “I had to run very fast to make the podium. I felt very strong and knew I could make it if I ran fast.”
He pulled even with the Spaniards quickly outside of the first lap and blew by them in the final two kilometers. Silva slid past the finish line in 1:51:18 to capture the world championship title, while Roca was second in 1:51:23. Corral was third in 1:51:29.
“I’m very happy,” Roca said. “I always do well here in Gijon. It’s my lucky city.”
“It is difficult to combine duathlon with triathlon cross country, and short distances with long, but I’m happy with my performance,” said Corral. “I think it was a good year as a whole. I have had two podiums in Europe with Duathlon and European Triathlon Cross Championships, and now third in the Duathlon World Championship.”
The men’s junior race was a game of cat and mouse in a herd of athletes. Nearly 14 men ran and biked together through the first two legs of the two-discpline sport. After completing the first run, a large group of 17 men transitioned to the bike together, headed by Michael Pienaar (RSA).
With only a few falling off, the lead group rode together throughout the four laps, which included five Spaniards and three Italians. Everything came down to the run. Italy’s Matthias Steinwandter executed a speedy transition to get a head start on the run. With just 2.5 km to run, nobody could catch Steinwandter, who secured the world championship title in 56:31.
|Results: Elite Men|
|1.||Roger Roca Dalmau||ESP||01:51:22|
|2.||Victor Manuel Del Corral Morales||ESP||01:51:29|