Golden moment for duathlon star Bailey

Dan Bailey
Dan Bailey
Pompey keeper Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Dan Bailey savoured his magic moment after fighting gruelling conditions in Switzerland to become a world champion.

The Victory AC athlete, 21, picked up the gold medal in the age 20-24 category at the ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships.

He went one better than in 2011 when he had to settle for silver, after rival Jan Baumgartner went past him on the final run.

This time there was no stopping Bailey, who conquered extreme weather to top the world.

The championships, held in Zofingen, are widely recognised as one of the toughest events for endurance athletes.

Some say the 10k run, 150k bike ride and the 30k run in the mountains is even harder than the famous Ironman triathlon in Hawaii.

Wind, rain and cold temperatures certainly did not help.

But Bailey was informed of his success as he approached the finish and made sure he enjoyed the moment.

He said: ‘The stadium announcer said “I’ve got some good news for you, Dan, you are world champion”.

‘I put my arms up as I crossed the line and it was nice. I enjoyed it as much as I could in the conditions.

‘It was too cold, really. On the bike I started feeling ill.

‘You can’t pedal coming down the mountains because it is too slippery.

‘Your heart rate comes right down and you really feel the cold.

‘People were crashing and wrecking their expensive bikes because of the weather.’

Bailey completed the course in 8hrs 14mins 50secs – slower than his 2011 time of 7.23.14.

He was forced to reassess his target of finishing inside seven hours due to the weather.

‘With the conditions I would have been happy with anything under 8.20 on the day,’ said Bailey.

‘I was 50 minutes behind two years ago, in total, but I pushed as hard as I could.

‘On the 10k run I felt really comfortable.

‘Once we got on the bike it was torrential rain.

‘My bike time was 30 minutes slower than last year.

‘It’s three laps and I lost 10 minutes a lap.

‘I was putting in the speeds I wanted to on the flat and up the hills but one section is 14k of downhill with twists and turns.

‘Normally you are doing 25 to 30 miles per hour but because of the conditions I was braking hard and doing only 10 to 15.

‘On the second run my shoes were full up with water and there was slippery mud up the hills.

‘I managed to stick at a pretty solid pace and was able to put in a push at the end of the second lap.’

Bailey wasn’t sure what happened to the likes of Baumgartner and the others in his age group in the tricky conditions.

He added: ‘I believe they finished but at the presentation ceremony lots of athletes were missing off the podium.

‘For me it was just a case of picking up my medal. I got the gold and was happy with that.’