GIJON, Spain – National champions Matt Russell and Nicole LaSelle recorded top-10 finishes Saturday to lead the U.S. elite contingent in run-bike-run action at the 2011 ITU Duathlon World Championships.
In a tightly contested men’s elite race, Russell (Austin, Texas) finished sixth in 1 hour, 51 minutes, 36 seconds on the 10-kilometer run, 43.2-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course. He crossed the finish line just seven seconds off the podium and 19 seconds off the pace of winner Sergio Silva of Portugal, who broke the tape in 1:51:17.
Russell, who recorded a career-best showing in his fourth appearance at Duathlon Worlds, posted the day’s quickest bike split by more than a minute, covering the 43.2k course in 1:01:54. Josh Merrick (Alamosa, Colo.) finished 13th in 1:52:39, as the U.S. was one of just four nations to place multiple men’s finishers in the top 13.LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio) led a strong showing by the U.S. women, placing ninth in 2:05:31 in her first-ever world championship appearance. Her bike split of 1:09:35 was the second-fastest mark among all women’s competitors. Courtenay Brown (Boulder, Colo.) was 12th in 2:08:27, as the Americans placed four athletes in the top 18 finishers. Katie Hewison of Great Britain earned gold in 2:02:45.
In paraduathlon action, Johnston earned his first career world championship medal in 1:06:51 after posting the top run splits in the TRI-5 category. Kyle raced to his third straight TRI-3 podium finish in 1:08:47 on the 5k run, 21.6k bike, 2.5k run course. After winning bronze a year ago, Kyle claimed duathlon silver for the second time in his career (2009, 2011).
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