Felicity Sheedy-Ryan crowned Duathlon World Champion in Nancy

By Erin Greene | 22 Sep, 2012

The shaded run and technical bike course that wound around UNESCO heritage site Place Stanislas provided the perfect backdrop for Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) to claim gold at the 2012 ITU Duathlon World Championships in Nancy, France. Although Sheedy-Ryan has been absent from the duathlon scene since earning bronze at the 2010 World Championships, she made a seamless return to the two-discipline sport, besting defending champion Katie Hewison (GBR) and four-time world championship medallist Sandra Levenez (FRA).

“I knew there were some very strong girls,” Sheedy-Ryan said. “I’ve been doing a lot of hard biking and running recently for my triathlon training, and I was confident I could put in a good race. You never know, it’s never easy, but I was hoping for a really good result.”

The result was indeed good for the Australian, as she dominated the course from start to finish. Early on the first run, a group of ten athletes quickly forged ahead. With two silver and a bronze world championship medals to her name, Levenez gunned for the allusive gold alongside compatriot Sabrina Godard in the group.

On the second half of the six-lap 10km run, Sheedy-Ryan pushed the pace even more to break away from the lead pack. Hewison, Godard and Levenez met her rate and, together, the quad managed to gain a 40-second advantage by the time they hit their bikes.

The crew carried their lead onto the 40km bike, but it wasn’t long before Sheedy-Ryan, Hewison and Levenez promptly accelerated ahead of Godard on the technical course. Godard kept the leading trio in range from 30 seconds back while the chase group fell to more than a minute deficit.

The top three leading ladies rode together throughout the eight-lap course, working to put an insurmountable distance between themselves and their competition. The strategy proved successful, as each of the eventual medallists pulled up to the final 5km run in podium position.

Halfway through the final run, the tenacious trio separated in the hunt for gold. Sheedy-Ryan surged to the top spot on the first of three run laps, securing a 20-second lead over 2011 champion Hewison. Levenez, who claimed bronze last year, looked destined for a second bronze as she trailed the leader by 50 seconds.

In a final push for the finish, Sheedy-Ryan collected gold in a total time of 1:52:43. Hewison garnered her second medal at a duathlon world championships in as many years with silver in 1:53:42. Levenez ran to her fourth consecutive podium finish in 1:54:20.

“The first run was very, very fast,” Hewison said. “I’m really pleased with my second place. Last year I think I was a little bit fitter on the run, but I had a stress fracture after the race. This year, I’m healthy, but maybe just a little bit less fit. But, saying that, I’m really pleased.”

Juniors and U23 races:
The elites were not the only competitors on the course in Nancy, as athletes from the U23 category competed alongside the elites. Cheered on by her compatriots on home soil, Alexandra Cassan Ferrier (FRA) thwarted the competition with a nearly three-minute win in 1:56:44. Belgium’s Sofie Hooghe took silver in 1:59:36 and Spain’s Melina Alonso was third in 2:00:13.

Great Britain claimed big success in the junior sprint races when Georgia Taylor-Brown and Georgina Schwiening scored gold and silver, respectfully. Taylor-Brown posted the top time of 58:27 and Schwiening earned silver 13 seconds later. France got on the podium once again when Jeanne Lehair rounded out the top three in 58:59.

Related Event: 2012 Nancy ITU Duathlon World Championships
22 - Sep, 2012 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Emilio Martin ESP 01:40:40
2. Antoine Duvivier BEL 01:40:43
3. Benoit Nicolas FRA 01:40:47
4. Etienne Diemunsch FRA 01:40:59
5. Sergio Silva POR 01:41:06
6. Philip Wylie GBR 01:41:12
7. Jeremy Pierrat FRA 01:41:17
8. Victor Manuel Del Corral Morales ESP 01:41:24
9. Sergio Lorenzo Prieto ESP 01:41:27
10. Yuya Fukaura JPN 01:41:36
Results: Elite Women
1. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan AUS 01:52:43
2. Katie Hewison GBR 01:53:42
3. Sandra Levenez FRA 01:54:20
4. Yuko Takahashi JPN 01:56:33
5. Andrea Steyn RSA 01:56:39
6. Jenny Schulz GER 01:56:49
7. Evgenia Sukhoruchenkova RUS 01:56:50
8. Franziska Scheffler GER 01:56:52
9. Stefanie Bouma NED 01:57:24
10. Sabrina Monmarteau FRA 01:58:45
Results: U23 Men
1. Thomas André FRA 01:41:08
2. Albert Moreno Molins ESP 01:41:39
3. Felix Duchampt ROU 01:42:02
4. Kenneth Vandendriessche BEL 01:43:03
5. Jose Luis Cordova MEX 01:43:13
6. Tim Van Hemel BEL 01:43:26
7. Pieter Heemeryck BEL 01:43:48
8. Edgar Espinoza MEX 01:47:40
9. Francisco Vicente Macia Garcia ESP 01:48:19
10. Pedro Antonio Lopez De Haro ESP 01:48:38
Results: U23 Women
1. Alexandra Cassan Ferrier FRA 01:56:44
2. Sofie Hooghe BEL 01:59:36
3. Melina Alonso Aradas ESP 02:00:13
4. Miriam Casillas García ESP 02:00:23
DNF. Tamara Gomez Garrido ESP DNF
DNF. Agnieszka Cieslak POL DNF
DNF. Petra Fasungova SVK DNF
DNF. Talisa Van Der Fluit NED DNF
Results: Junior Men
1. Richard Horton GBR 00:49:42
2. Matthias Steinwandter ITA 00:49:44
3. Bob Haller LUX 00:49:56
4. Brandon Hargreaves AUS 00:49:58
5. Simon Viain FRA 00:50:02
6. Cesar Saracho MEX 00:50:05
7. Nan Oliveras ESP 00:50:08
8. Liam Lloyd GBR 00:50:12
9. Jorik Van Egdom NED 00:50:14
10. Anders Lund Hansen DEN 00:50:19
Results: Junior Women
1. Georgia Taylor-Brown GBR 00:58:27
2. Georgina Schwiening GBR 00:58:40
3. Jeanne Lehair FRA 00:58:59
4. Jocelyn Daniely Brea Abreu ESP 00:59:07
5. Celia Bremond FRA 00:59:12
6. Lisa Schanung ITA 00:59:17
7. Ine Couckuyt BEL 00:59:18
8. Laura Gomez Ramon ESP 00:59:27
9. Sveva Fascetti ITA 01:00:18
10. Jodie Berry RSA 01:01:41
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