Youri Keulen clinches first T100 title in Singapore

by Olalla Cernuda on 15 Apr, 2024 06:30 • Español
Youri Keulen clinches first T100 title in Singapore

A new champion was crowned at a sweltering Singapore T100 as Dutch wildcard Youri Keulen claimed his maiden T100 victory; while American comeback specialist Sam Long charged from last on the swim to finish second, despite serving a 30-second penalty on the run. Belgian Pieter Heemeryck finished a very creditable third and Scotland’s David McNamee leapfrogged Germany’s Mika Noodt and New Zealand’s Kyle Smith in the final kilometers of the 100k race that saw its fair share of thrills and spills.

Described by Jan Frodeno on commentary as looking like the ‘Terminator’, Youri looked an unstoppable force after going to the front of the field on the bike. He looked calm and controlled right up until he crossed the finish line, before promptly collapsing. Officials and medics came to his aid and he was taken to the medic’s tent elated, exhausted, but in safe hands.

Meanwhile, Sam was in high spirits, hyping the crowd up and celebrating as he jumped across the finish line energetically, touching the top of the T100 arch basketball-style. Whilst the American is still seeking a first T100 win after also finishing second at the Miami T100, he was delighted with his performance.

He said: “(It was an) excellent race. Believe it or not, I was quite happy with my swim. I just paced it and focused on keeping my body temperature cool because if you get overheated there, it’s a long day. I’ve always been known for biking strong, but I didn’t really show that so much on the bike. I think my bike was still impressive and strong and I got myself into the race on the bike but it’s the run that I think I really showcased my strength and, to be honest, I was just having a super fun day out there and just in my own zone, in my own process, in the flow state. And it just all came together. I tried not to think about what the gap was. On the bike especially you got to see everyone twice per lap, right? So it’s very obvious. It really puts it right in your face how far back you are. But I actually said to myself: ‘Don’t look at how far back they are, just execute your mission and see what happens by the end of the day.”

“I think on the penalty… It’s up to me on how to react to it. And I would say it didn’t break my momentum at all. Well, there were two brief moments of panic. One was finding out I had a penalty. The second was figuring out where to serve the penalty because I wasn’t sure and then the third was actually when the two guys behind me came by when I was in the penalty like ‘Oh no, now I’m back in a race. I’m not even on the podium right now’. But I just used it to compose myself and get the crowd pumped up and carry on with my day.”

“And I just want to say thank you so much to the city of Singapore. I’ve received such a warm welcome and it’s been great to visit here and it’s a marvellous, beautiful city. So thank you guys. I’m living my dream. I’ve come way farther than I thought I would come. Well, I thought I would come this far, but it’s happened faster than I thought and to see the love that the crowd gives me just makes my heart warm and just makes me so happy. Of course to achieve an accomplishment like this, just twice in a month. It just makes me very happy and I’m riding the wave and don’t worry, there is a crash at some point. It’s probably coming in like 24 or 36 hours and then I will suffer for a little while.”

Heemeryck, who finished second at the inaugural PTO Asian Open last year, settled for third but is determined to improve on his result next year.

He said: “Last year I was a little bit better, but maybe it is earlier in the season so I’m not in the shape that I had hoped to be in already. But it’s a long season and I’ve finished two times on the podium here so it’s very good. But second to third, so next time I have to come back for first.

“It’s much more fun [with more races this season]. It will be a very big season, but it’s only the second race. I look forward to the next races, but I hope next year I can be part of the series again so I can race here again. Singapore is something special now after finishing on the podium two times.”

How The Race Unfolded

In sweltering overcast conditions, last-minute Wildcard Josh Amberger led the first lap of the 2km swim with the likes of Alistair Brownlee and Kyle Smith in close contention. On the second lap, Aaron Royle took to the front and led into T1. Meanwhile, Sam Long – 2nd in the Miami T100 – left the water last with over four minutes to make up and was also given a 30-sec penalty for leaving his swim kit out of the box during transition.

Once on the bike, there was plenty of chopping and changing early on before T100 Wildcard Keulen pushed his way to the front and went on the attack. He soon put a minute into the chasers, which included fellow wildcards Mika Noodt and Kyle Smith as well as Brownlee (fifth in Miami) and Heemeryk.

The other rider attacking the bike with gusto was Sam Long, who began to rip his way through the field – making it into the top 10 with 20km to go.

In pole position, Keulen was holding just over one minute on the chase group and took that onto the 18km run, speeding away to widen his lead.

Behind, as the chase group entered T2, a late dismount from Brownlee meant the double Olympic champion was handed a 30-second penalty. Serving it after making it to the podium places, the Brit was soon reduced to a walk, then stretched his calf, before succumbing to a DNF.

Off the bike in eighth place with 3min 20sec to leader Keulen, Long was fastest on the run course and made up 90 seconds by 12km to pick off the competition, overtaking Heemeryck to take 2nd place. Serving his penalty at the start of the final lap and dropping to fourth, he stayed calm and was soon back in second. Behind, David McNamee was the other fast mover, making up eight places during the run.

There was no doubt as to who would take the tape, however. In a breakthrough performance, Keulen gave everything he had to secure victory, collapsing over the line to take a US$25,000 (S$34,027) paycheck, score the maximum 35 points and jump to the top of the T100 series standings.

Long’s tenacious and powerful performance saw him take second again and another US$16,000 in the bank and add 28 points to his T100 series tally, putting him just one point behind Keulen.

Heemeryck held strong for third place, US$12,000 and 25 points.

Related Event: 2024 T100 Triathlon World Tour Singapore
13 - 14 Apr, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Youri Keulen NED 03:21:01
2. Sam Long USA 03:22:38
3. Pieter Heemeryck BEL 03:23:30
4. David McNamee GBR 03:26:03
5. Kyle Smith NZL 03:26:57
Results: Elite Women
1. Ashleigh Gentle AUS 03:44:23
2. Lucy Charles-Barclay GBR 03:45:58
3. Els Visser NED 03:51:38
4. Amelia Watkinson NZL 03:52:03
5. Lucy Buckingham GBR 03:52:10
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