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De Lange Down Under

Riana de Lange left for Australia Monday to take part in her debut World Long Distance triathlon championships at the weekend.

The venue for Sunday’s championships will be the West Australian city of Perth.

Until now most of the triathlon action has been over the Olympic distance, now its time for a step up.

The ITU Long Distance World Championships. Distances involved are a three kilometre swim in the Swan River, followed by an 80km cycle ( 4 x 20km laps)  before finishing with a 20km run (4x5km).

De Lange faces a daunting challenge as she will be up against the likes of Leandra Cave (2002 World Champion Olympic Distance and 20th Iron Man Kona 2009), Amelia Pearson (third Oceania LD Championships) as well as Lucie Zelenkova (winner SA Iron Man 2009 and 22nd Iron Man Kona 2009).

So it will be a baptism of fire for De Lange; although her main focus remains Iron Man South Africa 2010.

De Lange competed in the Asian Long distance Triathlon in Korea, at Samschoek Beach on 14 June where she finished 13th. ÔÇ£I am in much better shape than I was in June. Amelia finished two places ahead of me in that race, so hopefully I will be able to turn the tables on her. Racing against my coach will be a different experience though,” she said, referring to Zelenkova.

De Lange is hoping for a top 10 position, but is not putting any undo pressure on herself. Having said that, the bike course suits her (a fast, flat route with Iron Man Rules meaning it is a non-draft legal race).

So no cyclists will be able to work off each other as in the Olympic or sprint triathlons. ÔÇ£I prefer non-draft races; it means you have to do all the work yourself and it does not come down to the run as in draft legal races. And the bike is my strength.ÔÇØ

Despite this being De Lange’s first Long Distance World Championships, she is no stranger to travel, having competed internationally since 2001, competing in the Age group World Champs (16-19) in Edmonton , 2001,where she finished seventh.

She also placed 11th at  the World Fast Race Brazil in January 2007 and also competed in the Bundesliga in 2006 where she finished 20th and 13th in Munich and Kiel respectively.

Perth weather conditions have been described as perfect this time of year with average spring temperatures in October at 21-24 degres Celcius in the day and 9-12 deg overnight.