The opening of the World Triathlon Series on Saturday, in Yokohama, was watered profusely. Rain did not stop for several days on the port of the city of 3.7 million people (Japan’s second largest!), during the first round of the WTCS. It hardly brought luck to Martin van Riel who, after trying to escape by bicycle (his strong point…), had a difficult journey on foot.
The Antwerp resident finally finished 12th, completing the event at the Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km walk) at 1h45.12, 1.42 behind Britain’s Alex Yee, 1h43 winner .30 ahead of New Zealand Hayden Wilde.
Coming out of the water in eleventh place, Marten joined the leading peloton team of about thirty athletes in the company of Erwin Vanderplancke, entered the second Belgian, who nevertheless had to abandon the group along the way. After the second move, Van Riel couldn’t fight on the podium, leaving the duo Ye Wilde to fight for the ultimate victory while Erwin finished 39th, with a time of 1:48.02.
A victim of a sacrum fracture, Jelle Geens has yet to recover on this Japanese tour, where he finished second last year.
On the women’s side, in the absence of Claire Michel, a victim of Covid-19, Valerie Barthelemy came 19th, with a time of 1 hour 57.12. The American-Belgian narrowly missed the leading group of about fifteen athletes. In it, the Bermuda Olympic champion Flora Duffy had to leave Britain’s Georgia Taylor Brown and France’s Leon Periault to compete for victory in the race. The final acceleration of the vice Olympic champion allowed her to overtake the French in 1 hour 51.44, Dufy completed the podium.
See you on June 11-12, in Leeds, for the rest of the World Triathlon Series…
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