Competing in her first Duathlon World Championship race, which was included as a part of the Cali World Games, Japan’s Ai Ueda experienced great success as she pulled ahead on the run to win the women’s title in one hour, 57 minutes and 59 seconds.
France’s Sandra Levenez, a veteran in the event, earned her fifth Duathlon World Championship medal with a second-place finish in 1:58:59. While the pair enjoyed a sizeable lead ahead of the competition, Germany’s Jenny Schulz returned to the podium in third place with a time of 2:01:04.
Levenez took an early lead on the run-bike-run race, leading a pack of eight that included Schulz and Ueda through the four-lap run course. While Sabrina Godard (FRA) pushed to the front, the move proved too much too soon as the group quickly responded by dropping her and Schulz.
Ueda and Levenez quickly pedaled ahead on the bike, leaving Stefanie Bouma (NED) and Evgenia Sukhoruchenkova (RUS) to chase them on the six-lap cycling course. Further behind, a second chase pair of Schultz and Brea had also come together.
By the end of the first bike lap, the leaders were up 30 seconds while the chase pair behind them became a quartet when Bouma and Sukhoruchenkova were joined by Schultz and Brea. Although the four worked together, it wasn’t enough to reel in the dynamic duo in front as Ueda and Levenez owned a 1:22 advantage midway through the bike.
By the bell lap, the pair powered to a 2:45 advantage. With just two quick turns around the final 5km run course, the time difference was too much for the chase, leaving the hunt for bronze between Bouma, Sukhoruchenkova, Brea and Schultz. In a last push effort on the bike, Colombia’s Monica Calderon also pulled even with the chase to put herself in podium contention.
Ahead of them, Ueda immediately shot ahead of Levenez, announcing her intention to claim her first Duathlon World Championship title with a 30-second lead midway through the final run. The early blast proved fruitful as Ueda secured the crown by a full minute. Levenez clocked in next to take the silver, making it a hat trick of world championship silver medals for the French woman.
Meanwhile, a determined Schultz enjoyed a slight lead over Bouma with 2.5km to go. She worked to continue increasing the lead, which eventually put the German back on the podium after missing out in 2012.