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Wolfaardt conquers Africa

Twenty-six year old Erhardt Wolfaardt on Saturday added the ATU Africa Triathlon Title in Durban to the South African title he won in Germiston in March.

Wolfaardt raced a tactically sound race to pip Claude Eksteen by a mere four seconds, covering the 1,500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run in 1hr 51min 13sec with Eksteen crossing the line in 1:51:17.

Anton Storm lead the field out of the water in 19:57, with Erhardt Wolfaardt, Jeff Norton and Under-23 athlete Valery De Falbaire right on his heals. Eksteen, Chris Felgate and Theo Blignaut a further 25seconds adrift.

The bunch regrouped on the 40km 8-lap bike leg. In the final stretch Under-23 SA Champion Wikus Weber opened a gap on the group of just over a minute, covering the 40km in 1hr 1min and 40seconds. The bunch, including race favourites Erhardt Wolfaardt and Claude Eksteen, was a minute behind. The win earns Wolfaardt 400 ITU ranking points with Eksteen claiming 370.

ÔÇ£It was tough,ÔÇØ said Wolfaardt after the race. ÔÇ£I did not expect to have to hang in like that. I really suffered.ÔÇØ After a number of crashes abroad, Eksteen was happy to get a solid race under his belt. ÔÇ£It was a great shoot out. I just could not shake him.ÔÇØ

Wolfaardt goes back into training now, whilst Eksteen returns to Europe on Monday to compete in the Bundesliga Finals in Offenburg on 18 July and the World Championships Series in Hamburg on the 26 July.

Eksteen’s training abroad ÔÇô he spent a few months in Australia at the beginning of the year and is currently based in Davos, Switzerland ÔÇô paid off, as he set a cracking pace in the run, soon overhauling Weber. But Eksteen was not able to shake a grimly hanging on Erhardt Wolfaardt who sprinted past him in the final 50m for a four second win.

Wikus Weber also added the African title to his South African title crossing the line 12sec ahead of Theo Blignaut.

The trend of South African champion capturing the African Title continued in both the Elite Ladies and Under-23 Ladies as Andrea Steyn and Corinne Berg grabbed those titles. Steyn, Berg and Riana De Lange worked together on the bike and came into the transition within 30seconds of each other. De Lange felt the Ultra she competed in three weeks ago in Korea and soon lost contact with Steyn and Berg and on the run.

The running strength of Steyn was evident, as she pulled away from Berg and a struggling De Lange. Steyn crossed the line in 2:06;27 with Berg second overall and first U23 in 2:08;15.
Men’s Elite Final
1. Erhardt Wolfaardt        RSA            1:51:13
2. Claude Eksteen        RSA            1:51;17
3. Chris Felgate            ZIM            1:53;55

Under-23 Men
1. Wikus Weber            RSA            1:54;56
2.Theo Blignaut            RSA            1:55;09
3. Valery De Falbaire        MRI            1:56;21

Women’s Elite Final
1. Andrea Steyn            RSA            2:06;27
2. Carla Germishuys        RSA            2:12;08
3. Riana De Lange        RSA            2:14;23

Under-23 Women’s Final
1. Corinne Berg            RSA            2:08;15
2. St Louis Fabienne Aline    MRI            2:08;36

Junior Men  (Half standard 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)
1. Abrahm Louw            NAM            1:07;07
2. Rudolf Naude            RSA            1:08;13
3. Henri Schoeman        RSA            1:09;36

Junior women
1. Ashleigh Blackwell        RSA            1:08;17
2. Carlyn Fisher            RSA            1:09;06
3. Lauren Dance            RSA            1:09;16