By ITU Admin on 13/03/04 at 12:00 am
Wildhaus, Switzerland: For immediate release: Hard snow-packed trails, brilliant sunshine, and magnificent mountain vistas set the stage for the 2004 ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships in Wildhaus, Switzerland.
In the women’s event, the defending World Champion Marianne Vlasveld of the Netherlands and the 2004 Winter Triathlon World Cup leader Sigrid Lang of Germany had a classic see-saw battle through each of the stages of the event.
Sigrid Lang posted the fastest run time on the 1st segment, the 4 lap, 5.6km run on snow. She also had the fastest split through the run to bike transition.
Marianne Vlasveld lost 8 seconds to Lang on the run, 2 seconds on the 1st transition, and a further 3 seconds on the 4 lap, 10.4km mountain bike on snow. Vlasveld had a very fast second transition, clawing back 4 second from Lang to enter the final 5 lap, 7.5km cross-country skate ski segment still in contention for the crown.
During the early phases of the ski segment, Vlasveld appeared to be positioning herself for a successful defense of her World Championship title, but Sigrid Lang’s strength on the skis was too much for Vlasveld.
Lang gradually pulled away from Vlasveld and took the World Championships title by almost a minute.
Karin Mobes of Switzerland, who has overcome several injuries in the past was 3rd - a further 2 minutes behind Vlasveld.
If the women’s event was characterized by a battle between old rivals, the men’s event was more like the changing of the guard, as none of last year’s podium factored into this year’s event.
In the men’s event Nicolas Lebrun of France blasted off the start and through the run in 17:30 - 1 minute and 20 seconds ahead of the eventual winner, Sigi Bauer of Austria. Lebrun entered the run to bike transition first, 30 seconds ahead of the current leader of the Winter Triathlon World Cup Series, Patrik Kuril of Slovakia.
Once onto the mountain bike course, Sigi Bauer of Austria took charge through the 4-lap course, over-powering all contenders for the World Championship crown.
Despite a relatively slow transition, Bauer had enough of a lead after the bike to cruise home to victory - giving Austria its first World Championship title within the ITU multi-sport family.
Othmar Brugger of Switzerland, who put in a consistent performance over all three segments, delighted his home-country fans by breaking from the chase group to finish 2nd - 36 seconds behind Bauer.
Petter Jorgensen of Norway rounded out the podium, and also made a little history by giving Norway a 1st ever medal in an ITU multi-sport discipline.
Find more details about this event - 2004 Wildhaus ITU Winter Triathlon European Championships