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Talented U.S. Duathlon Team Takes on the World’s Best in Spain

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Elite duathlon national champions Nicole LaSelle and Matthew Russell and overall age group duathlon national title winners Gail Kattouf and Dave Slavinski highlight a talented group of more than 200 Americans who will compete in the 2011 ITU Duathlon World Championships this weekend in Gijon, Spain.

Saturday’s run-bike-run action is highlighted by the elite world championships, as well as junior and paraduathlon events. Sunday, the age-groupers will compete in both sprint- and standard-distance events. Visit duathlongijon.org for full event information.

In addition to the reigning elite duathlon national champions, a total of 13 age group national title winners from this year’s Duathlon National Championship in Oro Valley, Ariz., are on the Gijon start list. All age-groupers qualified for Team USA with a top-18 finish (rolling down to 25th place) at Duathlon Nationals.

Saturday’s elite race will be contested over a 10-kilometer run, 43.2-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course with 11 U.S. athletes in action. With Russell (Austin, Texas) leading the way, the top four U.S. finishers from elite nationals are among the six athletes on the men’s side.

The women’s race will feature LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio), as well as the overall winner in Oro Valley, Angela Axmann (Phoenix, Ariz.), among its five American competitors. Axmann, a native of Germany, was registered with USA Triathlon as a foreign elite at the time of Duathlon Nationals but is now eligible represent the U.S. at the ITU level.

Saturday’s paraduathlon event features a trio of Americans in Lamar Brown (TRI-6, Bronx, N.Y.), Michael Johnston (TRI-5, San Diego, Calif.) and David Kyle (TRI-3, Athens, Ala.). Brown and Kyle will look for a return to the podium following bronze-medal performances a year ago.

Three U.S. juniors are also slated to compete Saturday — Holly Resh (Redlands, Calif.), Greg Palken (Northboro, Mass.) and Connor Torre (San Diego, Calif.). The paraduathlon and junior events will be contested in a 5k run, 21.6k bike, 2.5k run format.  

The age-groupers will take over Sunday with the sprint- and standard-distance events. The sprint features a 5k run, 19.2k bike, 2.5k run format, while the standard-distance race will be contested on a 10k run, 38.4k bike, 5k run course.

Thirteen reigning U.S. age group champions will aim for the world podium in Gijon:

• Kara Middendorf (30-34, Tucson, Ariz.)
• Gail Kattouf (35-39, Greenville, S.C.)
• Eneas Freyre (35-39, Norwalk, Conn.)
• Dave Slavinski (40-44, Point Pleasant, N.J.)
• Kirsten Chapman (45-49, Edmond, Okla.)
• Kristin Villopoto (50-54, Chapel Hill, N.C.)
• Patty Peoples-Resh (55-59, Redlands, Calif.)
• Scott Hajicek (55-59, Lakewood, Colo.)
• Ruth King (60-64, Ambler, Pa.)
• Steve Ruckert (60-64, Woodbine, Md.)
• Judy Richwine (65-69, San Marcos, Calif.)
• Warren Taylor (70-74, Telford, Pa.)
• Edward Maruna (80-84, Arvada, Colo.)

All U.S. champions will compete in the standard-distance event with the exception of Villopoto and Peoples-Resh.

Additionally, seven medalists from the 2010 ITU Duathlon World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland, will represent the U.S. on Sunday. Among this group are defending world champions Ann Davidson (45-49, Portland, Ore.) and Edwin Bixenstine (80-84, Kent, Ohio).

About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – one of the fastest growing sports in the world – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions 3,500 races and connects with more than 135,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including ITU World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the International Triathlon Union and the United States Olympic Committee.

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