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Excellent Erhard

With his second win in the Troisport Joburg City Tri Series at Germiston Lake at the weekend Erhard Wolfaardt has all but clinched the series.

It looked as if Sander Berk was going to run away with the victory, but a rule violation in the second transition saw him disqualified and Wolfaardt, who finished second, was promoted to first with Hendrik De Villiers second and a storming Richard Murray taking the last podium spot in a race which also served as the Gauteng Championships.

As expected swimming ace Jeff Norton was first out of the water, closely followed by Wolfaardt and Berk. Wolfaardt, De Villiers and Claude Eksteen are deep in base training and the effort told on the bike as Berk stormed away from the usually bike-strong trio.

Whereas Wolfaardt was able to keep the gap between him and Berk to around 30 seconds ÔÇô Berk had taken the lead on lap one of the four-lap bike leg ÔÇô De Villiers and Eksteen were losing ground. Theo Blignaut on the other hand was a having storming bike leg and caught Eksteen on the final 10km lap. Murray, who along with Vicky Van Der Merwe is now doing altitude training in Potchefstroom, was also flying through the field on the bike.

Into the 10km run and Berk had a lead of 40 seconds over Wolfaardt. The base training was clearly having an effect on Wolfaardt as he first clawed back 12 seconds on Berk over the first 2.5km of the 10km run. But as the temperature soared, Wolfaardt started to lose time and Berk was able to open a 37sec lead over him at the end of the third of the four laps which make up the 10km run.

By then though rumours were rife around the course that Berk was being disqualified due to a rule violation. He did finish the race and crossed the line first, but his appeal was overruled and Wolfaardt ÔÇô who was second across the line ÔÇôwas elevated to winner. De Villiers, also deep into base training, nevertheless is looking more and more like the athlete who finished fourth at World Championships in 2008 and crossed the line second overall (after Berk’s disqualification).

Murray continued to fly through the field on the run leg, passing both Theo Blignaut and Eksteen, who admitted to heavy legs after being at the end of his three-week running block in which he covered 120km/week. In fact Eksteen had done a two hour run the day prior to the race.

The women’s race was Lucy Zelenkova from the gun. She came out of the water first with young Carlyn Fischer and Corinne Berg right behind her, but once on the bike she powered away from the field and kept opening the time gap. An interesting battle though was developing behind her. Berg and Fischer were together at the end of lap two and three on the cycle leg, but by the time they entered the transition for the 10km run, Caroline Koll had moved into second place.

Berg, who is now doing her articles for a law firm, clearly is still trying to find the right mix of managing her time between work and racing. Nevertheless she was quite satisfied with her third place. Fischer was passed on the run by anther hugely talented youngster, Lauren Dance and finished 5th overall.

(1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run)
1         Erhard Wolfaardt                  1hr 52min 08sec
2         Hendrik De Villiers         1:55:06
3         Richard Murray                  1:55:57
4         Claude Eksteen                  1:57:28
5         Donovan Van Gelder         1:58:10

1         Lucy Zelenkova                  2:07:19
2         Carolin Koll                           2:09:06
3         Corinne Berg                  2:11:01
4         Lauren Dance                  2:12:32
5         Carlyn Fischer                  2:12:54