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Hendrik 2nd in China

ÔÇ£I have unfinished business in China.ÔÇØ That’s Hendrik De Villiers, referring to his withdrawal from the Olympic triathlon event in Beijing in 2008.

ÔÇ£Why China? It gives me time to practice the time difference thing before WCS final and also pick up┬áthe broken pieces left behind in 2008. But seriously ÔÇô there are more points and it is a lot cheaper to travel to these races, as opposed to my other options, which were Colombia and Brazil and that plays a crucial part at this stage, to get into London this year, to get in next year.ÔÇØ

De Villiers made the decision to open his 2011 international campaign in China for the reasons above, and clearly it was a good call as the South African finished second behind China’s Faquan Bai.

De Villiers was happy with his swim, after a clear start. Only 50 metres before the first buoy (at 330m) did the proverbial washing machine kick in. ÔÇ£I felt fairly comfortable as I’ve been concentrating more on speed lately. I felt that ÔÇô in the second lap it┬áwas much harder, but I think it’s only my speed endurance that needs work.ÔÇØ

The 10 days leading up to the race were anything but easy for De Villiers. ÔÇ£My child, Mienke in hospital, travel and not sleeping great here. I swam┬átoo little the┬álast 10 days┬ábefore the race, so was very happy to make the pack. I was in second with about eight guys and seven or so guys 50m up the road on the bike.

The group with De Villiers reeled the lead bunch in within 5km of the 40km bike leg.

Australia’s James Sear and De Villiers were into T2 together, but with his shoes on the far side of the Transition zone, De Villiers was only second out of T2.┬áÔÇ£We started solid on the run and were probably 6/7 guys in the front run pack. I ran in second for the first lap. On the second lap I decided to push the pace in front when I got the idea it was dropping, then the Chinese (Bai) took the lead into the wind; we ran side by side for a bit, but at about 6.75 km he opened a slight cap.ÔÇØ

De Villiers tried to hold on, but the gap continued to open slowly. ÔÇ£I lost 20sec in the last 3km, but was broken and pale when I finished ÔÇô┬álactic filling my veins and muscles. Had to run my butt off to stay in second, but made it. Danish guy ran through the field after a conservative first lap, from our bike pack though.ÔÇØ

De Villiers next races in Weihai Asian Premium Cup on 11 June, China, so is staying there. He will be joined by fellow South African Claude Eksteen. Then it’s back home in preparation for Africa Championships. After that De Villiers plans to do some altitude training in Potchefstroom and Pretoria before heading off to the Edmonton World Cup, Hamburg WCS and London ÔÇ£the one big goal of the season apart from WCS final in Beijing.ÔÇØ

Results

1 Faquan Bai CHN 1hr 48min 36sec
2 Hendrik de Villiers RSA 1:49:00
3 Jens Toft DEN 1:49:03
4 Yiming Zhang CHN 1:49:14
5 Mitchells Kealey AUS 1:49:24


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