The ITU Duathlon World Championships was the opening event on the schedule, to crown the first set of world titles in Pontevedra, Spain.
French athletes dominated the race, with Benjamin Choquert and Sandra Levenez presented with the World Duathlon Titles in their respective fields.
Emilio Martin celebrated the day with a silver medal and Belgium’s Angelo Vandecasteele, from Belgium, earned the bronze medal. 2018 Duathlon World Champion Sandrina Illes was presented with the silver medal and Garance Blautfrom France claimed the bronze.
The men’s field was stacked with international duathlon expertise. The race format consisted of a 10km run (4 laps), 40km bike (6 laps) and 5km run (2 laps). The race started on the athletics track of the High Performance Centre in Pontevedra.
The French pair worked together across the four laps of the run course while the chase group of eight men tried to hunt down the leaders. Spain’s Emilio Martin, Belgium’s Angelo Vandecasteele, Portugal’s Marco Miguel, Belgium’s Arnaud Mengal and Great Britain’s Liam Lloyd in the mix of the group chasing.
Le Berre and Choquert were the first of the men into transition, while the second group of men followed, making their way out onto the bike course. Le Berre lost time in transition, to serve a penalty, but quickly caught up to his team mate out on course.
The Spaniards, part of the chase group, tried to push hard at the front but the Frenchmen were still looking as smooth as they did in their first lap.
The Frenchmen were not making it easy for the group to hunt them down, as they increased their lead from 8-seconds after the first lap to almost 1-minute by the third lap.
Half way through the bike course the group of nine chasing, cut 20-seconds into the lead group. They continued to work hard together, taking turns out in front seat, proving that if they kept this pace up they would close the gap and consolidate.
Once the chase group caught up to the leaders it was Arnaud Dely from Belgium who attempted a breakaway. Martin from Spain also took a moment of opportunity to feel the power and breakaway on the steep hill climb. On the final stage of the bike course it was Lloyd from Great Britain who made an impact, breaking away as the men made their way back to the stadium. Lloyd produced a quick transition of the day to hit the final run course of the day.
The pace was firing as the men battled for podium positions. On the final stretch, France’s Choquert took control and hit the blue carpet to run away with the world title.
“We decided to go hard in the first running part because we didn’t want to accumulate the penalisation for the second part of the race (….) And at the end I pushed in the strongest part of the race with the final run,” said Choquert.
Martin was presented with a silver medal in front of a Spanish home crowd and Vandecasteele, from Belgium, celebrated on the podium with the bronze medal.
Text: International Triathlon Union