By Erin Greene on 05/09/14 at 3:38 am
For the eighth time, Zofingen will again host the ITU Duathlon World Championships in partnership with International Powerman Association from September 5-7. In pole position are the two reigning champions Eva Nyström from Sweden and Rob Woestenborghs from Belgium returning to defend their titles in the 10km run, 150km bike, 30km run race.
In the women’s race, there is also a duel, but in this case, it is a Scandinavian one. The favourite is the defending champion, Eva Nyström. After two second places in 2007 and 2008, the 36-year-old Swede won Zofingen for the last two years.
With wins at Powerman Denmark, Powerman Germany, and at Powerman Vlaanderen and with bronze at the European Championship at Powerman Holland, Susanne Svendsen is a serious threat. Her domination this year puts her into the lead in the Powerman Duathlon world Rankings.
The 35-year-old Danish woman wanted to end her duathlon career after she failed to compete the World Championship race in Zofingen last year.
“A few months after Powerman Zofingen in 2013 I decided that I would come once again to Zofingen and try my luck,” Svendsen said, “This year I will be in Zofingen just hoping to finish without complications. In Zofingen I have never had a top race due to my asthma problems.”
Emma Pooley is starting for the first time here in Zofingen. The 31-year-old British woman is the Grande Dame of cycling, having taken silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in the individual time trial.
An indication that Pooley is in form was her race on June 1 this year at Ironman 70.3 Switzerland in Rapperswil. Her 2nd place in the half Ironman distance behind Daniela Ryf and in front of Olympic champion Nicola Spirig. Pooley has raced Zofingen twice already.
“In May of this year when I raced my last duathlon I came second behind Nicola Spirig at the Intervall Duathlon in Zofingen,“ Pooley said. “I know how hard and tough the run is here, mainly because of the hills, which I rather like.“
Shortly before the 25th Powerman Zofingen last year, there was bad news for Joerie Vansteelant who had been at high altitude training camp in Font-Romeu in the French Pyrenees.
“A car knocked me off my bike when I was out training,” said the then 31-year-old Belgian, who due to the injuries he suffered, had to pull out of the World Championships in Zofingen.
Recently Vansteelant has been focussing on triathlon and has made great improvements in his swimming. As winner of Powerman Zofingen in 2012, 2011 and 2009 Vansteelant has one single goal for September 7th.
For the father of two, it would be his fourth victory at his fourth start in Zofingen if he pulls off a victory.
However, he’ll have to vie with reigning champ Rob Woestenborghs, who is hungry for another win. Before this season, the 38 year-old Belgian had set two objectives – winning the ETU Powerman European Championships Long Distance and the ETU Powerman European Championships Standard Distance, both of which he has done.
With Andy Sutz forced to withdrawl from the start list, any hopes for a Swiss podium rest entirely upon on André Moser, last year’s runner-up. However, Sutz has been suffering from an achilles tendon injury.
Moser’s party could be spoiled however on the run by the Dane Søren Bystrup, who might be able to improve on his 2012 Zofingen bronze and get a podium position for the second time. A candidate for the podium as well is the Frechman Anthony Le Duey, who was third in Zofingen in 2010.
The elite women will race on Sunday at 8:00am local time, while the men will start one hour later at 9:00am.
Text by Raphael Galliker
Find more details about this event - 2014 Zofingen ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships