2013 Abu Dhabi International triathlon -Baldwin wins 18-24 age groups, finishes 11th overall


Baldwin in action during Saturday’s Abu Dhabi International triathlon
Competing under the glow of the warm Arabian sun, Baldwin finished with a cumulative time of 7 hours 10 minutes 11 seconds (7h10:11) after clocking 40 minutes 23 seconds in the 3km swim, 5 hours 06 minutes 12 seconds in the 200km bike and 1 hour 16 minutes 48 seconds in the 20km run.

Baldwin’s 11th place overall is his highest overall placing ever achieved at a big international event. 
The triathlete said he was looking forward to racing in Abu Dhabi as it’s one of the biggest triathlon events in the world. This race proved to be a great early season challenge, testing every single athlete who competed across the different distances on the day.  There were ups and downs.

“As the first race of the 2013 season, I was looking forward to racing in Abu Dhabi as it’s one of the biggest triathlon events in the world.  The day started well with a good swim and over the course of the 200km bike leg I extended my lead over my age-group competitors,” said Baldwin.

“The high temperatures and strong winds made the bike leg particularly taxing and there were some difficult moments during the day where I had to dig deep to keep going and maintain my average pace of close to 25mph. 

“Once on the run course I soon found a comfortable rhythm and settled into a good pace. The hard work I’ve done in my run training over the last few months was paying off and I climbed my way up in the overall placings and crossed the line with the Seychelles flag,” he added.

Belgium's Frederik Van Lierde clinched overall victory on Saturday – his second win in the United Arab Emirates capital – as Melissa Hauschildt of Australia kept her cool to snatch her maiden title.

Van Lierde won the Abu Dhabi pure power 223kms flagship distance in 6h41:02, finishing ahead of 2010 champion, Spanish Eneko Llanos (6h45:02). Tyler Butterfield rounded out the top three with a time of 6h47:49).

"I felt really strong from the beginning. I pushed the pace early, it was a risk, but I told myself it was no problem. I felt strong, really strong, but had to be patient on the bike, as everyone is strong at first. Not everyone comes to the front and leads, I took my responsibility with long stretches at the front, and the last 30 kilometres I put the hammer down," said Van Lierde.

A record-breaking 2,050 athletes from 76 countries signed up for the biggest Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, with world elites and first timers going shoulder-to-shoulder on a course that started with a sunrise swim in the Arabian Gulf's shimmering turquoise waters before weaving through the closed roads along the Abu Dhabi Corniche beach, up to the spectacular Yas Island and around the Yas Marina Circuit – home to the annual Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – before returning to the heart of the capital.

G. G.

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