posted on 04/07/2012: 829 views
Hot pre-race favourite, Faris Al Sultan – the enigmatic leader of Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team, the emirate's specialist endurance outfit – justified his star billing to romp to a resounding victory in the Kärnten Ironman Austria.
With crippling morning temperatures in Klagenfurt, the race venue, hovering around the 35°c mark, Al Sultan ignored the stifling heat to stay among the top three positions through the crucial opening swim and cycle stages, before a herculean effort on the closing marathon leg wrapped up the win.
Al Sultan passed then-leader, Briton Philip Graves, a mere five kilometres into the 42-kilometre run and eventually crossed the line in a time of 8 hours, 11 minutes and 31 seconds – a staggering nine minutes clear of Italy's Daniel Fontana and 15 ahead of Portugal's Pedro Gomes, who rounded out the Klagenfurt podium.
"I reaped the benefits of warm-weather winter training in Abu Dhabi, that's for sure,” said Al Sultan. "It's a great feeling standing on the start-line and knowing the heat isn't going to burden me as heavily as some of my rivals.
"Things worked pretty well in the water,” he added. "The bike performance wasn't my best ever, so completing the run in under three hours was key. Being favourite is a compliment but tags mean little to me. You win nothing unless you hit the line first – thankfully I managed it.”
An emphatic sixth full Ironman career title marks the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) backed stalwart's third consecutive summer race triumph – following previous victories in last July's Ironman Frankfurt and Ironman Regensburg in 2010.
"It is no accident that the summer races seem to be my most prosperous. These victories are the result of tremendous amounts of early season conditioning and a year-long strategy to be in optimum physical shape for the end-of-season world championship in Hawaii,” said Al Sultan, the 2005 world champion.
For more information on the team and Abu Dhabi as a training destination, visit www.abudhabitriathlonteam.com – Sport 360°
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