Wian Sullwald raced to a third place finish yesterday (21/05) in the French Grand Prix Series in Dunkirk.
“Chuffed, very chuffed,” are the words the Tuks/HPC-triathlete used to express himself afterwards. He had good reason to feel satisfied as some of the world’s best triathletes were competing. The most noteworthy being the Spaniard Mario Mola who is currently the top-ranked athlete in the ITU World Series. Mola finished eighth.
The Race (750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run) was won by Dorian Coninx in a time of 53.11. Raphael Montoya was second in 53:18. Sullwald crossed the finish line five seconds later.
“This is by far my best result ever in the series. What excites me is that I was able to put together a second good race in just eight days,” said Sullwald who finished 13th last weekend in the World Series event in Yokohama.
The Tuks/HPC-athlete actually has had one of the best starts to his season making each time he raced count. In the World Cup in Cape Town, he was third; he won the South African title in the Free State; at the World Series event in Gold Coast, he was ninth. His only setback so far was when he crashed out during the cycle leg at the World Series event in Abu Dhabi.
Sullwald compared racing in a French Grand Prix-series race to surviving the “Wild West”.
“It can be hectic. We had 90 athletes at the start and all raring to go. So the racing was hard and intense from the moment we dived into the water to start the swim. I was lucky to get away with a small group which made it easier going onto the cycle.
“I had not the best of transitions going on the run as I battled to get my running shoes on. My one foot is still quite blistered after the crash in Yokohama but I managed to keep my cool.
“Once I started running I quickly ran myself into third place. Then I settled down into a nice comfortable run just sticking with Dorian and Raphael. I refrained from getting involved in the final battle for victory as I did not want to over exert myself because this weekend I will compete in a World Cup event in Madrid. For now third is good enough.”