Reigning champions Helena Erbenova (CZE) and Pavel Andreev (RUS) defended their world championship titles on Saturday at the 2013 Cogne ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships.
Erbenova led the elite women’s race line to line to stamp out her second title. She blasted away straight from the start, rounding the first of three run laps in the top position, alongside teammate Sarka Grabmullerova (CZE).
But by the end of the three-lap run course, Erbenova had etched out a minute and a half lead. Erbenova continued to forge ahead on the bike, while Norway’s Elisabeth Sveum moved into second. But Erbenova was too strong to catch, as she posted the top ski split by more than a minute to win in 1:20:10.
Sveum stopped the clock more than three minutes later for silver, and Grabmullerova rounded out the podium for bronze 1:24:24.
Andreev’s quest for his third consecutive title was hard fought. The Russian trailed Kristian Monsen (NOR), Evgeny Kirillov (RUS) and Italy’s own Daniel Antoniolifollowing the two-lap run course. But a massive bike leg put Andreev back in contention for the podium, as he moved behind teammate Kirillov and in front of Antonioli.
Determined to avenge the title he relinquished to Andreev last year, Antonioli pushed the pace on the final discipline, skiing past the pair of Russians. However, Andreev matched Antonioli’s thirst for gold, and together the duo engaged in a terrific sprint for the finish.
In the final meters, Andreev dug deep to move just centimeters ahead, claiming the win by just over half a second in 1:08:24. Antonioli took silver for the second time, while Kirillov crossed over 10 seconds later for bronze.
Read more: Triathlon.org