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Murray makes merry

Richard Murray has been billed by many as the next big thing in SA triathlon and if the South African’s victory at the ITU Premium European Cup in Brasschaat, Belgium at the weekend is anything to go by, the pundits could well have this one right on the money.

Despite difficulties in the swim, Murray was able to remain focused and concentrate on his race and not on that of the rest of the field. Emerging over a minute down on the leaders from the swim, Murray did not panic, despite losing 30 more seconds to the leaders on the bike.

This came about as the pack he was riding with seemed more interested in their own personal duels than with trying to catch the breakaway group.

Once on the run, Murray was able to start chasing down the leaders one by one. Not only did Murray have the fastest run of the day, but he needed to make up a 15-second deficit after being penalized in the transition zone. In his endeavour to close the gap on the leaders as quickly as possible, Murray did not put his bike helmet in the box in T2 and had to be stop racing for 15 seconds as per ITU rules, this after opening the first two kilometers at 2:35/2:45 pace.

After the initial adrenalin rush, Murray settled down to a more ÔÇ£sedateÔÇØ 3min/km pace and continued to reel in the leaders one after the other. With 2.5km to go (final lap of the four-lap run circuit), Murray was lying in fourth. Passing 2007 world champion, Danial Unger, gave Murray a shot of confidence and he upped his pace.

When he crossed the line one hour 44min and 22 seconds after starting, Murray had won the biggest race in his three-year triathlon career. His final run split of 29.54 (for 10km) was the fastest by over 30 seconds and is testament to the character and never-say-die attitude of Murray.

In the same event, fellow South African Gillian Saunders also notched up her best ever performance by finishing fifth. Like Murray, Saunders used her strength on the run leg to make up time.

Results
Overall         Swim         Bike                  Run
1 Richard Murray                   1hr 44min 22sec          18:27          55:34          29:54
2 Pierre le Corre                   1:44:39          17:23          55:                  31:38
3 Vincent Luis                   1:44:47          17:23          55:08          31:48
4 Lukas Salvisberg          1:44:50          17:31          55:03          31:48
5 Daniel Unger                   1:44:56          17:31          55:04          31:53

Women
1 Rebecca Robisch          1:58:37          20:25          1:01:37         35:14
2 Radka Vodickova         1:58:50          20:15          1:01:47         35:25
3 Mateja Simic                  1:59:00          20:33          1:01:15          35:38
4 Sarissa de Vries          1:59:25          20:20          1:01:39          36:00
5 Gillian Sanders                   1:59:27          20:51          01:02:50         34:16

Meanwhile, further east, in Italy, another South African was making waves. Carla Van Huyssteen racking up a third spot in the Xterra Italy, and also making use of the fastest run of the day.

Marion ÔÇ£BuBuÔÇØ Lorblanchet took the women’s crown, but it was an up and down day.┬á Englishwoman Jacqui Slack led out of the swim and onto the bike followed by Lorblanchet and Carla van Huyssteen.

Carla’s swim was good, her bike (usually her strength) was not the best, but good enough to arrive into T2 in fifth place.┬á It was on the run that she made up time, first passing Jacqui Slack and then Carina Wasle, for her podium spot.

Results
1  Marion  Lorblanchet  (Fra)  2:57:05

2  Renata  Bucher  (Swi)  2:59:44

3  Carla  van Huyssteen  (SA)  3:03:26


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