The inaugural edition of the Shangri La Duathlon Challenge (7-45-7) in Yunnan, China, saw highly contested and exciting-till-the-finish races that resulted in victories for Tang Jiuling and Denmark’s IM World Champion Katrine Amtkjaer. Despite rain and very cold temperatures at the start, on top the 3300m altitude, the race had an amazing 100% finisher rate, which says everything about the determination of the participants to complete the race. Because Amtkjaer was happy but serious after the finish: “This was harder than any IronMan I have ever done!”. In fact, local youngster Tang Xin had surprisingly overtaken her during the bike leg around the beautiful natural lake. Only in the final kilometres of the second run was Amtkjaer able to catch and pass Tang Xin again. A similar scenario unfolded in the men’s, were Tang Jiuliang and Gu Linhai fought a solid battle with Li Yuheng, the latter unfortunately falling victim to two time penalties that cost him the victory. Being inexperienced and doing his first ever duathlon, Li Yuheng mounted his bike too early and also received unauthorised assistance from his coach in the transition zone after the big leg.The resulting two-minute time penalty dropped him down to third place in the final result. Sporting as he is, he accepted the outcome with dignity. As such, Tang Jiulang won the race. He and Gu Linhai finished just 17 seconds seperate from each other! In fact, the entire top 6 was within 2’45” of each other. Feedback from participants was exclusively positive for this first edition that started in difficult weather circumstances.
The full list of race results is available via Race Timing Solutions.
The Shangri La Duathlon is set to become a highlight on the Asian race calendar. Stay tuned for the next edition in May 2018!