With the Arabian sun beating down on another stunning Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, Australian triathlon sensation, Melissa Hauschildt successfully defended her title in style and Bermudan Tyler Butterfield rode and ran his way through the field to notch up his first UAE capital win.
Butterfield’s triumph comes two years after his wife won the very same event and nine weeks after the birth of the couple’s second child. Coming out of the water in 8th position, Tyler set out on the bike in the leading group and gained a few spots as he put in the third fastest bike time of the day. Pulling away in the run, Tyler then stretched out a 46 second lead to post a very respectable 6:43:01 in the desert heat.
Butterfield said: “I still can’t believe it all. Freddie [van Lierde] was the strongest on the bike, he raced like a champ. I couldn’t really believe I was leading as I was coming into the finish and was constantly looking over my shoulder to see who was there.
“It was so great to win over the same course as my wife. In 2012 she got to carry our daughter across the line when she won. We also had a boy nine weeks ago which I think has made me train even harder for the race – maybe this was part of what helped us both lift the title here in Abu Dhabi!”
Just behind Tyler was former Dutch Olympic and Middle distance champion Bas Diederen who, like the 2013 champion Frederick van Lierde, put in a spectacular bike split of 4:44:04 over the 200km bike course and notched up the second fastest run. French Sylvain Soudrie finished the podium line up.
In the women’s long course, Melissa Hauschildt came to the event hungry to defend her title – and did just that, stretching out a lead that proved too much for Dutch Ironman Yvonne van Vlerken to beat.
Hauschildt said: “It is an amazing race and I’m stoked to come back and win this year. At 10k, me and Yvonne were running side by side but then I managed to create a bit of a gap and stay ahead. I never thought I’d actually win until I was holding the finish tape.”
Yvonne had a great race coming out of the water in 5th but then put in a superb bike and run time to work her way through the field and cross the line in second, with Michelle Vesterby matching her 3rd place finish in 2013.
As well as the world’s top elites taking on the long and short course of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, soap star royalty also conquered the stunning Abu Dhabi course; Katherine Kelly Lang from US TV show ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’. Lang has been in Abu Dhabi for a week, taking in the sights of the capital as well as getting in some triathlon training ahead of today’s event.
This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon and was its first sell-out event. A line-up of 1,939 entrants took part in the event, attracting spectators from across the world.
For more information on the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, go to www.abudhabitriathlon.com