Tyler Butterfield nabs long course gold in Abu Dhabi
Frederik van Lierde misses podium despite spectacular bike split, while Melissa Hauschildt retains the women's title ahead of Yvonne van Vlerken and Michelle Vesterby
Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) and Tyler Butterfield (BER) took long course gold at the Abu Dhabi Triathlon last weekend, with last year's Ironman World Champion Frederik van Lierde coming fourth in the men's race despite posting a spectacular bike split and the second-fastest run of the day.
Butterfield left the water in eighth position but stuck with the leading pack on the bike, putting in the third-fastest bike split of the day and eventually crossing the line in 6:43:01. Dutch Olympic and middle distance champion Bas Diederen took silver with 6:43:47, followed by Sylvain Soudrie (FRA) with 6:45:06.
“I still can’t believe it all," said Butterfield. "Freddie [van Lierde] was the strongest on the bike, he raced like a champ. I couldn’t really believe I was leading as I was coming into the finish and was constantly looking over my shoulder to see who was there.
“It was so great to win over the same course as my wife [Nikki Butterfield]. In 2012 she got to carry our daughter across the line when she won. We also had a boy nine weeks ago which I think has made me train even harder for the race – maybe this was part of what helped us both lift the title here in Abu Dhabi!”
Hauschildt successfully defended her 2013 title with a time of 7:24:50 for the 3km/200km/20km long course, followed by Yvonne van Vlerken (NED) in 7:25:13 and Michelle Vesterby (DEN) in 7:31:39.
“It is an amazing race and I’m stoked to come back and win this year," said Hauschildt. "At 10km, me and Yvonne were running side by side but then I managed to create a bit of a gap and stay ahead. I never thought I’d actually win until I was holding the finish tape.”
As expected, the Brownlee brothers won gold and silver in the men's short course race (1.5km swim/100km cycle/10km run) last weekend, linking arms to cross the line together in a time of 3:12:21. The women's short course race was won by Germany's Svenja Bazlen.
(Image: TCA Abu Dhabi International Triathlon)