Henri Schoeman collects first gold of 2018 WTS season in Abu Dhabi

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The 2018 World Triathlon Season has officially begun and its first-collected gold medal went to South Africa’s Henri Schoeman as he claimed victory at the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.

Crossing the finish line to collet the tape after leading out of the swim, bike and run, the Abu Dhabi gold was only the second WTS win of Schoeman’s career. And despite the unusual desert rain that caused some slickness out on the bike course for many athletes, Schoeman managed to come out on top and become only the second man in WTS history to win the race after leading in all three disciplines from start to finish.

“To be honest, I am just so happy there really is no words to explain. It has been a tough year since the Olympics and it just feels so good to have a statement. I just tried to play it safe out there. I found myself in front on the bike and before I knew it I had a gap and the gap grew. To just be honest I was having fun out there, I was telling myself that if they catch me on the run, well whatever because I had fun on the bike and I was safe.” Schoeman said.

“Mario is a fantastic runner, so I was running scared. But my fitness is there and it is good to have a race like this, it told me I am in great form as the Commonwealth Games is my next race. I am so thrilled, the last time I was on the top step was in Cozumel in 2016 and I am so glad I did it in such a great way.”

Earning the silver medal was Spaniard Mario Mola, who won in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and 2016. While the bronze went to Vincent Luis (FRA), who repeated his third place position from 2017.

Mola said, “I am happy with how the race went. It was really slippery, so just to make it into transition without a crash I think it was a completion. I am very happy, I gave 100%. I managed to get ahead in the bike and made time up on the run, but Henri was up there so congratulations to him. I didn’t give up until I saw him on the blue carpet already celebrating. But I tried and I will fight for the next one.”

Abu Dhabi is a desert city, but rain welcomed the elite men for the first WTS race of the 2018 season. With a blow of the horn the elite men jumped off the pontoon to start the sprint-distance race. Only 750 meteres to complete in the swim and by the first buoy it was Schoeman who had earned the edge.

Schoeman was first out of the water, while Richard Varga (SVK) and Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) trailing right behind. Getting through the first transition with ease, the…

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