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Van Lierde masterclass secures Abu Dhabi win
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Saturday 2nd March 2013


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[UPDATES TO FOLLOW]

Mild winds and a warm early morning sun left perfect conditions for the two-lap, 3km opening to the 2013 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.

Men

Fraser Cartmell lead a large lead group through the first lap, and unlike some previous editions here, the swim pace didn't appear to be 'foot to the floor' with anyone actively seeking to make a break this time around. Fraser looked very relaxed as he ran across the beach, checking behind, where Halksworth, Graves and Ambrose were among his company along with Llanos, Van Lierde and Dellow and pretty much everyone else you would expect there.

With most of the favourites - including Chris McCormack - in the lead group, it was just 2010 World Duathlon Champion Bart Aernouts who was - as expected in the swim - losing time.

After a very comfortable first lap, McCormack lost a lot of time on lap two though - and as we later found out out that was due to a broken finger caused at the halfway point - soon to be followed by a broken wheel and a DNF 10km into the bike course. This race doesn't seem to like him. Hopefully he’ll be back to make it third time lucky

2011 winner on most picks for a repeat here, Frederik van Lierde was heading the field in the early stages of the bike, stringing out the field without committing fully to an attack – he has the course knowledge to know that the damage here happens in the final 50k, not the first…

After the three laps of the Yas Marina F1 circuit, the lead group was down to Llanos, Van Lierde, Cartmell, Dellow, Ambrose and Sudrie. Conrad Stolz and Tyler Butterfield had bridged up after losing time on the swim to join Halksworth and Graves who had lost contact with the front group. Also moving fast were Bart Aernouts and Paul Amey who were close to making that chase group too.

Conrad Stolztold us that he wanted to ‘do something’ on the bike - and he was making good on that promise, making his way to the front of the race with Van Lierde, Llanos, Butterfield, Sudrie and Cartmell – with the dangerous running of Aernouts not too far back.

The late stages of the bike in Abu Dhabi are always where the pressure and the heat tells, and that was no different this year. Frederik van Lierde had been strong throughout, and built himself a cushion of around 40 seconds over inaugural 2010 winner Eneko Llanos at T2, who himself had a gap over Tyler Butterfield and Sylvain Sudrie – and then the gaps grew….

Van Lierde was the pre-race favourite, he looked great through all of the bike and then started strong on the run too. And continued in that manner to the finish. In all honesty, he look fantastic and totally in control all day and delivered a superb win to pick up the $50,000 first prize.

Unlike Van Lierde, Eneko Llanos is returning to Ironman Melbourne in three weeks time and will have had an one eye on that and so he can be well satisfied with holding his form through the run to take a fine second place to the dominant Belgian.

Pos Men
1st Frederik Van Lierde (BEL) 6:41:02
2nd Eneko Llanos (ESP) 6:45:02
3rd Tyler Butterfield (BER) 6:47:49
4th Bart Aernouts (BEL) 6:48:14
5th Sylvain Sudrie (FRA) 6:49:28
6th David Dellow (AUS) 6:55:49
7th Per Bittner (GER) 6:58:57
8th Paul Amey (GBR) 7:06:26
9th Philip Graves (GBR) 7:08:38
10th Daniel Halksworth (GBR) 7:10:18

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