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Travis, Liezl are champs
- Updated: June 20, 2011
Race favourite Travis Johnston and Liezl van der Merwe won the 2011 SA Duathlon title in perfect weather conditions in Cape Town at the weekend.
As expected it was Johnston’s superior biking prowess that won him the title ahead of former track start Johan Pretorius. The two went toe to toe in the first 10km run leg, held over four laps of 2.3 kilometres around Green Point Park near the waterfront.
The additional 800 metres required to make up the 10km came as the athletes headed off lap course and into the transition area for the bike leg. Johnston and Pretorius covered the first 10km in 31:55; former 80’s 5000m ace, Terry Thornton the solitary figure coming in two minutes behind for second.
Once on the bike though, there was only one athlete in it. Johnston covered the 40km bike section more than three minutes faster than Pretorius. The fastest bike leg went to Grant Edmiston who flew through the 40km in 1:01:40 to the 1:03:13 of Johnston and the 1:06:53 of Pretorius.
But Edmiston lost 5minutes on the first run leg to Johnston and Pretorius. Whatever ground he made up on the two on the cycle, was immediately lost on the final 5km run which Johnston blitzed in 16:50 to cross the line first in 1:51:59 ÔÇô four minutes ahead of Pretorius with Terry Thornton taking third overall. Thornton though was racing in the 40-44 age category and was therefore not awarded third place in the elite race. That went to Edmiston who finished fourth overall in 1:57:52. Thornton won the 40-44 age category.
It was Van der Merwe’s blistering bike leg that won the title for her, after she was almost 90 seconds behind Alae Brand and a minute behind Rhode Snyman. But van der Merwe’s 1:09:24 bike leg was three minutes faster than that of Snyman and Brand.
Coming into the final 5km she had turned the 90sec deficit into a 90sec advantage which she would need as she needed just under 22min for the final 5km ÔÇô 33sec slower than Brand. Van der Merwe won in 2:10:46 to the 2:11:20 of Brand and 2:12:41 of Snyman.
The SA championships doubled as the selection race for the World Championships in Gijon, Spain on 24 September. TSA will announce the team later.