By Mark Etheridge
Commonwealth silver medallist Henri Schoeman has got his triathlon year off to a golden start with victory at the ATU African Cup sprint event on Cape Town’s West Coast at the weekend.
Schoeman, who was part of the four-strong team that were only beaten by England in the team-event in Glasgow, raced to victory over an international field with the podium being rounded off by athletes from Austria and Germany.
Distances involved were 750-metre for the swim, 20 kilometres for the cycle and 5km for the run.
Schoeman dipped under the 60-minute barrier with a winning time of 59min 42sec to beat Austria’s Lukas Hollaus into silver by eight seconds with German competitor Franz Loeschke third 10 seconds later.
An indication of the international flavour of the event is that Basson Engelbrecht (10th) was the only other South African in the top 10 finishers.
‘I’ve been looking forward to this race for a couple of weeks now,’ Schoeman told Road to Rio 2016. ‘I’m really excited to get this season started as the last two months has gone really well with training. I’m in very good shape and I wanted to see what I can do.
‘It was a cold start in the Blouberg waters but I swam better than previous years with the new Huub suit (Archimedes 2) that came out this year. I managed to create a gap and attempted to ride solo on the bike but with a 10m-an chase pack working well behind me, and with the wind, it would’ve taken a lot out of me to stay away so we came together after 7km. ‘
Out of T2 (second transition point), Loeschke had a great start to the final running leg. ‘But I slowly reeled him in and caught him by the 1km mark. Lukas was the only one who could stick with me and the three of us ran together with nothing in it. With a kilometre to go I decided to give it a go and created a small gap and I had to keep pushing to be able to win.
‘It’s great finally being able to win this race. The international guys made for some fast racing which is a good setup for Abu Dhabi coming up in three weeks. Congratulations to Franz and Lukas on the podium.’
Abu Dhabi sees the first leg of the ITU World Triathlon Series which once again includes Cape Town (April 25-26) on its global schedule of 10 fixtures.
– See more at: http://www.sascoc.co.za/2015/02/18/gold-for-henri-silver-for-lauren-at-african-cup/#sthash.mVXJ9sG9.dpuf