Emma Pooley of Great Britain and Gaël Le Bellec of France defended their 2014 gold medals at the ITU Duathlon Long Course World Championship on Sunday at the 27th edition of the classic Powerman Zofingen in Switzerland.
Pooley, coming off a grueling victory three weeks ago at the mountainous Embrunman Ironman-distance triathlon, did not have enough energy left to challenge her own 6:47:27 race record set last year. But the powerful, pocket-sized cyclist had enough left in the tank to finish with a 10:35 margin of victory over runner-up Julia Viellehner of Germany and 18:44 over Susanne Svendsen of Denmark. Pooley’s 7:01:49 finish was good enough to rank as the second-fastest women's time at the classic 10k run-150k bike-30k run Zofingen distance – 2:19 faster than previous Zofingen record-holder Karin Thürig’s 2002 mark.
Pooley, Viellehner and Martina Krähenbühl of Switzerland broke ahead on the opening 10k run, with Pooley and Viellehner finishing ahead at 34:37 and Krähenbühl a few steps back in 34:46. A mental lapse led Pooley to forget her helmet visor, and she had to return to transition to fix matters and lost a minute. Viellehner and Krähenbühl took advantage, but by the end of the first 50 kilometer lap, Pooley charged into a lead she would never relinquish.
Pooley’s women’s-best 4:13:58 bike split was 12 minutes better than the next-best effort of Viellehner, 15 minutes better than Krähenbühl, and 20 minutes better than Susanne Svendsen of Denmark. With a big lead, Pooley started off with an eye on breaking her own course record, then seemingly settled for breaking the 7-hour mark. But on the final 7k, Pooley ran out of record-breaking energy and walked up several hills to ensure her victory.
On the opening 10k run, Pieter Rijnders of Belgium (30:13.8), Tony Orvain of France, Felix Köhler of Switzerland (30:14.1), and Le Bellec (30:14.5) led the field into transition. On the first 50k lap of the bike leg, Le Bellec took charge and established a 90 seconds lead on Rijnders. By the finish of the challenging three-lap, 150k bike leg, Le Bellec’s race-best 3:52:29 split was 7 minutes better than the next best efforts of Seppe Odeyn of Belgium and Soren Bystrup of Denmark, 10 minutes better than Köhler, and 12 minutes faster than Rijnders.
On the 30k run, Le Bellec carefully doled out portions of his lead but never lost control. His 5th-fastest 1:55:26 run gave back 3:31 to Odeyn’s race-best 1:51:56 split, 2:54 to Bystrup, and 1:55 to Rijnders. At the end, Le Bellec finished in 6:20:36 with a 4:23 margin on Odeyn, 4:59 on Bystrup, 11:52 on Rijnders, and 15:44 on Köhler.
ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championship
September 6, 2015
R 10k / B 150k / R 30k
1. Emma Pooley (GBR) 7:01:49
2. Julia Viellehner (GER) 7:12:24
3. Susanne Svendsen (DEN) 7:20:33
4. Katrin Esefeld (GER) 7:29:35
5. Nina Brenn (SUI) 7:39:04
8. Laura Kline (USA) 7:53:00
1. Gael Le Bellec (FRA) 5:20:36
2. Seppe Odeyn (BEL) 6:24:59
3. Soren Bystrup (DEN) 6:25:35
4. Pieter Rijnders (BEL) 6:32:28
5. Felix Köhler (SUI) 6:36:20
16. Ryan Rau (USA) 6:57:55