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Pretorius pulls out all the stops in PE

Former 1500-metre runner, Johann Pretorius, pipped Momentum Iflex Duathlon Series leader Brand du Plessis by one second at the fourth of the six-leg series in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

Pretorius was once an accomplished 1500m runner with a personal best of 3min 39.17sec but made the switch to duathlon as he did not see a future in athletics after a fall-out with the administration. That track speed has always been his weapon in duathlon and it now seems his bike skills have caught up with his running prowess.

Pretorius and du Plessis were the firm athletes on Sunday and quickly opened a gap on the first 5km run over the rest of the field.

Testament to Pretorius’ improvement on the bike, is that the strong cyclist Brand du Plessis (he has won a stage on the MTN Panorama Tour cycle race) was not able to shake Pretorius over the 20km.

Du Plessis has been battling with cold and flu on and off this year which could well have contributed to his not being able to shake Pretorius, but that takes nothing away from the rapid improvement of the former track athlete. On the final 2.5km run, it came down to a sprint and Pretorius edged Du Plessis by one second.

The runners-up spot still keeps Du Plessis firmly top of the Series standings and he has every intention of staying there. ÔÇ£I have been doing more mileage in the last three weeks, so I am not as sharp as I would like to be, but Johan had a really good race. I am training for the 70.3 in January next year hence the move back to a type of base training right now.ÔÇØ

Du Plessis has 75 out of a possible 80 point after four races in the series. Next is Lieuwe Boonstra on 57 points (after three races) and third on the table is Stuart Marais (54 points after three races).

The women’s race was won by Carla Van Huysteen (formerly Germishuys) ahead of Liza-Marie Bright and Marisa Ferraris.

The next race is on 15 August at Qiba Gorge in KwaZulu-Natal.