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Claude claims title
- Updated: March 23, 2011
Britain’s Tim Don may have won the Africa Cup triathlon in Port Elizabeth at the weekend but the title of South African champion went to Claude Eksteen.
The South African Championships were held in conjunction with the Africa Cup. Don, who trains in Stellenbosch in the South African summer, saw this as the perfect opportunity to test his fitness and race against South Africa’s ÔÇô and Africa’s –┬á best.
Clearly the Brit is in good shape after an almost two-minute win over Eksteen, but the South African will take great comfort from the fact that this was arguably his best race in a long time.
Held over the usual 1500 metre swim, 40km cycle and 10km run, Don meant business from the word go. Attacking the minute he hit the water, he dragged Henri Schoeman, Wikus Weber, Erhard Wolfaardt and Jeff Norton with him and by the time they started the second lap the group had a lead of about 35 seconds over Rudolf Naude, Hendrik De Villiers and Eksteen.
Out on the bike ÔÇô a three by 13km loop ÔÇô the earlier perfect weather conditions had changed to extremely hot. This though did not stop Don from setting his own scorching pace on the bike. Coming out of the water with him and onto the bike leg were Weber, Wolfaardt, Schoeman and Morroco’s Medhi Essadiq. Gradually the group split as Don turned up the heat even more.
Weber was having the race of his life and stuck doggedly to the wheel of Don. Wolfaardt was also not letting them go. By the start of the second lap the chase group of De Villiers, Eksteen and Naude were 50 seconds adrift.
At the start of the third lap of the bike, Don, Weber and Wolfaardt had almost 90sec on the chasers. Midway through the third lap though Wolfaardt punctured which effectively ended his race.
Don’s furious pace on the bike was beginning to take its toll as Eksteen clawed back time on the Brit and passed Weber to come into T2 in second place. He was however not going to catch the flying Brit, Don winning in 1hr 54min 51sec with Eksteen finishing second overall but claiming the SA title in 1:56;52. Weber finishing third, Mehdi Essadiq missing out on a podium place and De Villiers rounding out the top five.
In the women’s race Carlyn Fisher lived up to her potential by claiming her first senior national title and winning the Africa Cup. With the leading pack from the start, Fisher ran away from the field with a 39:35 10km split to cross the line in 2:11:58 ÔÇô a full minute ahead of Toth Zsofia (Hungary) with Stellenbosch’s Mari Rabi rounding out the podium.
Wian Sullwald, who represented South Africa at the inaugural Olympic Youth Games and finished eighth ÔÇô was in a class of his own in the Junior race. A 30sec lead in the swim, became a 2:30 lead after the bike and he finished a full three minutes ahead of Alex Rossouw. Abri van der Walt was third.
Zimbabwe’s Laurelle Brown pipped South Africa’s Ashleigh Blackwell by three second to win the Junior girls race.