The world’s top triathletes were in action at the opening round of the World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi.
The women were racing first with Aileen Reid lining up for the beach start with a packed field of 64 triathletes. Reid got off to a great start and emerged from the water 13 seconds off the early leader Carolina Routier of Spain.
Reid remained well placed in a large chase group throughout the flat and technical 20 kilometre bike section before posting a 17:38 split for the final 5 kilometre run. The race was won in emphatic style by USA’s Gwen Jorgenson who blazed through the run, closing down a one minute deficit after the end of the bike.
The men’s race featured 18 of the world’s top 20 triathletes with Bryan Keane and Conor Murphy representing Ireland and hoping to get their Olympic Qualification campaigns off to a good start.
Murphy started out the best of the Irish as he clocked 9:11 for the 750 meter swim. Combined with a quick transition it was good enough for him to make the leading bike pack.
Keane found the swim a little more testing, coming out of the water towards the tail end of the field. The former professional cyclist pushed the pace on the bike with help from a strong group of some 20 athletes but they couldn’t quite bridge the gap and were forced to start the run 30 seconds in arrears.
Conor Murphy ran well from the front pack, clocking 15:44 for the 5 kilometres to finish 30th in 54:17. Bryan Keane picked off some athletes from the leading pack with a 15:26 5 kilometre split to finish 37th in 54:34.
The race was won by Spaniard Mario Mola in 52:32 with Vincent Luis second and Richard Murray third.