Two of our high performance squad stepped up to race at the ITU World Duathlon Championships in Nancy, France…
Nick Shasha: The World Duathlon Championships of 2012 took place in Nancy, France – the same venue as the European champs of 2010. Whilst familiarity with the course and venue was a bonus, I was a little apprehensive going into these Worlds as I knew the competition would be at the highest level imaginable.
Off on to the first run and I quickly pulled away with the eventual French winner for the first couple of kilometres. He then paced ahead and I settled into 3rd position for the rest of the 10k run. This was better than my expectations given the quality of the field and is hopefully reflective of strong running form this late in the season.
Onto the bike and the first of 5 laps went well and I quickly got into a rhythm on the bike that saw the corners, drags and descents pass by quickly. The Nancy bike course was a supremely testing city criterium circuit of 5 x 7.5km laps taking in flyovers, U-bends and the odd S-bend and by the time it was over I was on the limit.
Out of the second run and my legs were just about spinning over, though with not quite the pace I could have hoped for. Nevertheless, I did manage to pass a number of other athletes over the next 5k and eventually ended up finishing tenth. Had the race been over my preferred sprint distance, I feel I could have run the race more on aggression, but you have to race the race you are given.
One rather tasty consolation was that I managed to beat every other athlete in my age group who wasn’t British or French!
Louise Bardsley: I travelled to Nancy in France with high hopes for the World Duathlon Championships – I was the returning silver medallist in my age group from Spain last year. I was also hoping to top my 5th place overall finish from 2011.
I took position at the front on the start line, and set off hard, but at a pace I should be able to sustain. However it soon became apparent that my legs were not their usual springy selves today. I was not able to hold the pace I know I am capable of – I would just have to hold on as much as I could and see what I could pull back on the bike.
I was 9th in my wave coming off the run, gained another 2 places in transition, and once aboard the Twinfoil, it was time to start overtaking people! I found myself zipping past other athletes on all the technical sections, sometimes as if they were standing still! I even had cheers from some enthusiastic Americans for my “great cornering”!
I had moved up about 5 places during the bike leg. I actually wished we had another lap so that I could put some more time between myself and the better runners! As it was, I would have to see how many I could hold off on the final run. My second run felt better than the first, and I managed to hold off all except 2 who I’d overtaken on the bike. I finished 5th in my category which to be honest was pretty disappointing after a silver medal last year. The full results showed a better picture, I had finished 9th overall across all of the age groups. I would have been easily within the medals for any other category. Unfortunately half the top athletes just happened to be 30-34 (11 of the top 22 finishers), but that is the age group lottery.
All pro snaps by Jolekha Shasha
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