Ritchie makes winning return to Strathclyde

Ritchie Nicholls claims his second win at Strathclyde Park.
Ritchie Nicholls claims his second win at Strathclyde Park.

SCOTTISH athlete Ritchie Nicholls was crowned the GE Strathclyde Park Triathlon Champion on Sunday for the second time.

Due to ongoing issues with the water quality in Strathclyde Loch this year’s event saw the swim leg cancelled as the athletes took on a 1,500 metre run, a 38km bike ride and a second 10km run.

Ritchie, from Montrose, made life hard for himself by incurring a 10-second penalty for missing registration but surged away from the field after the first lap of the 10km run to finish ahead of Australian Olympian Brendan Sexton and fellow Scot David McNamee.

Ritchie said: “I’m really happy with the race, the first run was really tough, especially when I started 10-seconds back because I missed the start of the briefing.

“I had to work really hard on the start of the bike stage to make sure I was up with the pack. I worked well on the bike and I felt quite good when I was running.

“I sat back for the first 800m of the run, just to see what happened. The pack just sat there and at the end of the first lap I surged and got away.”

Reigning ITU Duathlon world champion Katie Hewison won the women’s race after beating off strong competition from Canadian Lauren Campbell and Australian Ashlee Bailie.

The English athlete also incurred a 10-second penalty for missing registration and it wasn’t until the bike section that she managed to put herself amongst the leaders and in a position to win the race.

She said: “It’s a really tough and challenging course, but really enjoyable. I was thinking that the change to a duathlon was going to play to my strengths.”

The first ever paratriathlon champions were also crowned as they contested a 1,5km run, a 21km bike course and finished with a 5km run.

Scottish athlete Jane Egan from Kilbarchan won the women’s paratriathlon Tri 1.

She said: “The race was absolutely brutal, for the race-chair and hand-bike the course was very hilly and very technical and I think that is probably the toughest run route I have ever done in all the years I have been doing paratriathlon.”

The other four races were for men with English athletes winning each as David Cooke (Tri 1), James Smith (Tri 3), Joe Allen (Tri 4) and Matthew Emmerson (Tri 5) took the titles.

The event was also the penultimate race in the 2012 British Triathlon Junior Super Series with Gordon Benson from Leeds being the first junior athlete to cross the line.

Channel 4 will screen highlights of the race on Sunday, September 16.