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Sullwald soaks up international experience
- Updated: June 28, 2013
South Africa’s junior triathlon world champion Wian Sullwald experienced what international competition is really about when he finished 28th in his second French Grand Prix race.
But the result is a little misleading as he finished only 40 seconds behind the winner, Jonathan Brownlee, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist. Mario Mola from Spain was second.
ÔÇ£I am actually very pleased.┬á European racing is extremely hard and fast. Twenty-eight positions within only 40 seconds show the quality of this racing,ÔÇØ said Sullwald.
On Saturday Sullwald will compete in a Sprint European Cup race in Holten, in the Netherlands. Sullwald was relieved that he did not crash out during the 20 km cycle leg, like he did during his previous Grand Prix race.
According to Sullwald he was slightly worried before the start of the race. ÔÇ£The conditions were really bad. It was rainy and cold and, to make things even worse, a strong wind was blowing. I was soaking wet after my warm-up bike ride.┬á Fortunately it cleared up just before the start.
ÔÇ£The start was quite tricky because we had to run into the sea for the 750-metre swim leg. It is never easy when you are one of 85 athletes jostling for a good position before you start swimming.
ÔÇ£The sea swim was extremely hard because the water was very choppy and we also had to battle strong currents. I was swimming with the front guys when, all of a sudden, almost half the field cut the last buoy which enabled them to get ahead of me.
ÔÇ£During my transition I ran very hard towards my bike and rode at a fast pace for the first few kilometers until I caught up with a big pack of riders. When I caught up, we worked well together to chase the small lead group, which we managed to do.
ÔÇ£We were then a massive leading pack, still pushing the pace hard, sprinting out of every corner and hitting some cobblestones.┬á It was pretty tough, mentally as well as physically.
ÔÇ£Everybody sprinted out of transition onto the run. I waited for the pace to settle down, but it never did. The whole field was strung out in a long tight single file. We were all running at about the same pace, which made it hard to make up places.ÔÇØ