Billard, Hauschildt in Belfort

Bertrand Billard of France is the new ITU Long Distance World Champion and Melissa Hauschildt of Australia bested the women's field in this 9.5km run, 87km bike, 20km event that was meant to be a triathlon. Unusually cold weather and water temperatures in Europe have actually played havoc with several events.

Defending women's champion Caroline Steffen had planned to start but was under the weather and thus stayed away. 2012 men's champion Chris McCormack was also not at the start.

Nikolay Yaroshenko had the quickest opening run, but he had several challengers reasonably close. Cyril Viennot, Viktor Zyemtsev and Terenzo Bozzone reached T1 within a handful of seconds of the leader.

Bertrand Billard started the bike a few more seconds behind the Bozzone group but he quickly went to work and recorded a race best 2:17:45 bike split. Bozzone, Jens Toft and Dirk Bockel all had fine bike splits in the 2:20 range but Bozzone had a much quicker second bike-run transition.

Bozzone also managed the quickest closing run with a very fine 1:13:34 effort, but that was not quick enough to catch Billard. The French Pro ran a respectable 1:13:54 and crossed the line in first place and earned his first World Championship title. Bozzone finished second and Bockel rounded out the podium.

Melissa Hauschildt had the fastest opening run with a time of 35:19, but a relatively slow transition allowed Camilla Pedersen to start the bike segment first. Pedersen actually finished the opening 9.5k run just about 90 seconds behind Hauschildt, but the Aussie put on a few extra layers in the cold conditions in Belfort and that gave her a 3:20 transition compared to the 1:15 of Pedersen.

Pedersen then had the fastest bike split of 2:38:17 and that gave her an almost 3 minute lead into T2.

Hauschildt though was running tough and reeled in the Dane in the second half of the run. Her closing 1:20:37 run wasn't quickest, but faster than the times of her closest competitors and allowed her to take the win in 4:42:38.

"The first 10k I felt really good, didnít run too hard. The bike though was really tough. That climb, 8k at about 10% was hard. When I got off I just had nothing left in my legs. It wasnít until 7k to go that I started feeling my legs and thatís where I took off, fought Camilla and luckily got the win," said Hauschildt.

Camilla Pedersen held on to second place and Rachel McBride finished third with a solid effort all day. A race best 1:17:18 closing run by Jean Collonge of France brought her within sight of McBride but she had to settle for fourth place 13 seconds later.

ITU Long Distance World Championships
Belfort, France / June 1, 2013
9.5km run /87km bike / 20km run

Top men

1. Bertrand Billard (FRA) 4:08:45
2. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 4:10:34
3. Dirk Bockel (LUX) 4:11:51
4. Jens Toft (DEN) 4:15:20
5. Viennot Cyril (FRA) 4:16:13

Top women

1. Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:42:38
2. Camilla Pedersen (DEN) 4:44:14
3. Rachel McBride (CAN) 4:52:02
4. Jeanne Collonge (FRA) 4:52:15
5. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 4:55:54