Henri Schoeman captures the first event of the 2018 WTS season in Abu Dhabi thanks to some bold race tactics.
March 2, 2018 | NEWS|
The first race of the World Triathlon Series in 2018 brought the world's best short distance riders to Abu Dhabi. The athletes were prepared for hot conditions, but instead got mild temperatures and rain, which played a huge role on the technically demanding bike course.
A close swim race, aggressive cycling
The sprint-distance race began with a 750 m swim. As expected, it was a close race as Henri Schoeman (RSA), Richard Varga (SVK), and Ben Kanute (USA) put themselves at the front of the field, but nobody could break clear. After 8:56Schoeman got out of the water first, followed by many of the other favorites, who came out of the water iwithin 30 seconds of the leader.
On the bike, it became clear after the first few corners that the tricky conditions on the bike course (much of which takes place on Abu Dhabi's Formula One circuit) would play a crucial role in the race. Again and again there were crashes on the sharp corners, which put favorites like Jonathan Brownlee behind and saw others including Kristian Blummenfelt, both Poljanski brothers (RUS) and Dorian Coninx (FRA) off their bikes at some points. Schoeman, however, took advantage of the weather and pulled clear of the first group out. The South African held the gap to ten to 15 seconds and rode the last ten of the 20 km bike race alone. Adrien Briffod (SUI) and Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) broke from the pack just before the second transition and narrowed the gap to Schoeman. Into T2 he was three seconds ahead of Briffod, seven ahead of Mislawchuk and 20 seconds ahead of the chasing group that included Mario Mola, Vincent Luis, Jonathan Brownlee and Ben Kanute.
Schoeman holds the lead, Mola has a great run
On the run course Schoeman started at a fast pace and distanced himself from the first two pursuers. Behind them, however, defending WTS champion Mario Mola tried to close the 20-second gap slowly. Little by little, the Spaniard gained ground, but in the end, couldn't quite catch up to Schoeman. The South African crossed the finish line first in 57:03, five seconds ahead of Mola, who had the fastest run split of the day (14:27). The podium was completed by a strong Vincent Luis, who finished 21 seconds behind Schoeman.
WTS Abu Dhabi | Men
March 2, 2018 | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
750 m Swim
20 km Bike
5 km Run