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© Rich Cruse
Official: Joyce and Rapp win LD
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Sunday 6th November 2011


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With a modified race owing to the cold air and water temperatures, the ITU Word Long Distance Championships were run as a time trial start bike/run.

In the women’s race, the early pace and fastest bike split was posted by Australia’s Nikki Butterfield with a time of 3 hours 31 minutes and 13 seconds for the 120km bike, two minutes ahead of Joyce. That duo were closely followed into T2 by Kessler and Cave.

But both Cave and Joyce, who had started right at the back of the time trial based women’s start, started to kick early in the run and they quickly moved up through the field. By lap two of the run Joyce moved into the lead, Cave moved into second place on lap three. In a close battle for bronze, Kessler just edged Butterfield.

Joyce recorded the second-fastest run split of the day, just behind Cave, but her better bike leg - 3 hours 33 minutes and 9 seconds to Cave’s 3:36:42 - was enough to hand Joyce the win just four weeks after Kona where Joyce finished fourth and Cave third.

Jordan Rapp was hit by a car on a training ride in California in March last year and in addition to broken bones, lost around two litres of blood where glass had sliced his jugular. If not for first aid applied by a passing off-duty Navy officer, it could have been fatal.

But this year, he can now add ITU World Champion to a list that includes winning his comeback Ironman race and becoming a dad. Rapp and wife Jill Savege, a Pan Am Games gold medallist and World Cup winner, had Quentin in June. Rapp won Ironman Canada in emphatic style in August, before heading to Henderson, Nevada for the long distance worlds.

Early on, it looked like Denmark’s Martin Jensen might be able to go a few places better than the two bronze medals he has already collected at ITU long distance worlds, when he established a six minute lead on the technical and hilly 120 bike leg which included around 6,000 feet of climbing.

The next athletes to come into T2 with only a few seconds between them were defending champion Sylvain Sudrie (FRA), Joe Gambles (AUS) and Rapp. There was then a gap of three minutes to the fifth place held by Michael Raelert (GER). At the beginning of the run it looked like Jensen would be able to hold on, but Rapp had other ideas, as he moved steadily through the field and then closed the gap. At the start of the final lap, Rapp overtook Jensen and went on to win by almost three minutes, in a time of 5 hours and 15 seconds, with the fastest run split of 1 hour, 49 minutes and 31 seconds.

But the battle for podium places still wasn’t over, as Gambles and Sudrie kept their pace to the end and recorded time of 5.02.57 and 5.03.23 for silver and bronze. In the end, the difference between Gambles and Sudrie came down to transition, Gambles time in T2 was 33 seconds faster than Sudrie.

Scott Neyedli was 9th and Nicholas Ward Munoz 13th.

The result means that Great Britain are now the equal most successful nation at ITU long distance world championships. In the 15 year history of the event, Denmark have won six titles - five men’s and one women’s. Great Britain now also have six, with five titles coming from the elite women’s field and one men’s. Apart from Caroline Steffen‘s (SUI) win last year, in a race where Great Britain didn’t have any entrants, British women had won the previous four ITU long distance world titles thanks to Chrissie Wellington, Bella Comerford, Jodie Swallow and Cave.

All the age groups results are still listed as provisional but so far we can see Silvers for Tracy Cook (35-39) and Gill Fullen (45-49) and a Bronze for Ireland's Matt Molloy (40-44)

Article modified from original ITU release. Image courtesy of ITU/Rich Cruse.


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