ORO VALLEY, Ariz. – Nicole LaSelle and Matthew Russell captured the elite national titles, and Gail Kattouf and Dave Slavinski were the top overall age-groupers Saturday April 30th at USA Triathlon’s 2011 Duathlon National Championship.Russell (Austin, Texas) claimed his second career elite duathlon national title and first since 2008 with a time of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 38 seconds on the 5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course.
Competing at Duathlon Nationals for the first time, LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio) was the second female elite to cross the finish line in 1:36:08. Germany’s Angela Axmann, who resides in Phoenix, Ariz., was the overall women’s winner in 1:34:10.
Russell was sixth – and 35 seconds off the pace – after the first run. He grabbed the lead on the bike and held on to the advantage with a 17:03 5k on the second run. He finished nearly three minutes ahead of Canada’s Lionel Sanders, who was the No. 2 overall finisher in 1:25:23. Justin Hurd (Boulder, Colo.) finished third overall in 1:25:54, and Joshua Merrick (Alamosa, Colo.) crossed the line fourth overall in 1:26:16 to round out the national championship podium.
“I wasn’t sure where my speed was,” said Russell, who has raced four out of the last five weekends. “My strength is my bike right now, so I pulled away and that’s where I got the win – off the bike.” Russell caught the leaders on the first 2-3 miles of the bike and slowly pulled away heading into T2.
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