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April 14, 2024

Youri Keulen Clinches First T100 Title After Dominant Performance In Singapore; American Sam Long Goes From Last To Second

Youri Keulen claimed his maiden T100 victory;

Singapore: A new champion was crowned at a sweltering Singapore T100 as Dutch wildcard Youri Keulen claimed his maiden T100 victory; while American comeback specialist Sam Long charged from last on the swim to finish second, despite serving a 30-second penalty on the run.

Belgian Pieter Heemeryck finished a very creditable third and Scotland’s David McNamee leapfrogged Germany’s Mika Noodt and New Zealand’s Kyle Smith in the final kilometers of the 100k race that saw its fair share of thrills and spills.

Described by Jan Frodeno on commentary as looking like the ‘Terminator’, Youri looked an unstoppable force after going to the front of the field on the bike. He looked calm and controlled right up until he crossed the finish line, before promptly collapsing. Officials and medics came to his aid and he was taken to the medic’s tent elated, exhausted, but in safe hands.

Meanwhile, Sam was in high spirits, hyping the crowd up and celebrating as he jumped across the finish line energetically, touching the top of the T100 arch basketball-style. Whilst the American is still seeking a first T100 win after also finishing second at the Miami T100, he was delighted with his performance.

He said: “(It was an) excellent race. Believe it or not, I was quite happy with my swim. I just paced it and focused on keeping my body temperature cool because if you get overheated there, it’s a long day. I’ve always been known for biking strong, but I didn’t really show that so much on the bike. I think my bike was still impressive and strong and I got myself into the race on the bike but it’s the run that I think I really showcased my strength and, to be honest, I was just having a super fun day out there and just in my own zone, in my own process, in the flow state. And it just all came together. I tried not to think about what the gap was. On the bike especially you got to see everyone twice per lap, right? So it’s very obvious. It really puts it right in your face how far back you are. But I actually said to myself: ‘Don’t look at how far back they are, just execute your mission and see what happens by the end of the day.”

“I think on the penalty… It’s up to me on how to react to it. And I would say it didn’t break my momentum at all. Well, there were two brief moments of panic. One was finding out I had a penalty. The second was figuring out where to serve the penalty because I wasn’t sure and then the third was actually when the two guys behind me came by when I was in the penalty like ‘Oh no, now I’m back in a race. I’m not even on the podium right now’. But I just used it to compose myself and get the crowd pumped up and carry on with my day.”

“And I just want to say thank you so much to the city of Singapore. I’ve received such a warm welcome and it’s been great to visit here and it’s a marvellous, beautiful city. So thank you guys. I’m living my dream. I’ve come way farther than I thought I would come. Well, I thought I would come this far, but it’s happened faster than I thought and to see the love that the crowd gives me just makes my heart warm and just makes me so happy. Of course to achieve an accomplishment like this, just twice in a month. It just makes me very happy and I’m riding the wave and don’t worry, there is a crash at some point. It’s probably coming in like 24 or 36 hours and then I will suffer for a little while.”

Heemeryck, who finished second at the inaugural PTO Asian Open last year, settled for third but is determined to improve on his result next year.

He said: “Last year I was a little bit better, but maybe it is earlier in the season so I’m not in the shape that I had hoped to be in already. But it’s a long season and I’ve finished two times on the podium here so it’s very good. But second to third, so next time I have to come back for first.

“It’s much more fun [with more races this season]. It will be a very big season, but it’s only the second race. I look forward to the next races, but I hope next year I can be part of the series again so I can race here again. Singapore is something special now after finishing on the podium two times.”

How The Race Unfolded

In sweltering overcast conditions, last-minute Wildcard Josh Amberger led the first lap of the 2km swim with the likes of Alistair Brownlee and Kyle Smith in close contention. On the second lap, Aaron Royle took to the front and led into T1. Meanwhile, Sam Long – 2nd in the Miami T100 – left the water last with over four minutes to make up and was also given a 30-sec penalty for leaving his swim kit out of the box during transition.

Once on the bike, there was plenty of chopping and changing early on before T100 Wildcard Keulen pushed his way to the front and went on the attack. He soon put a minute into the chasers, which included fellow wildcards Mika Noodt and Kyle Smith as well as Brownlee (fifth in Miami) and Heemeryk.

The other rider attacking the bike with gusto was Sam Long, who began to rip his way through the field – making it into the top 10 with 20km to go.

In pole position, Keulen was holding just over one minute on the chase group and took that onto the 18km run, speeding away to widen his lead.

Behind, as the chase group entered T2, a late dismount from Brownlee meant the double Olympic champion was handed a 30-second penalty. Serving it after making it to the podium places, the Brit was soon reduced to a walk, then stretched his calf, before succumbing to a DNF.

Off the bike in eighth place with 3min 20sec to leader Keulen, Long was fastest on the run course and made up 90 seconds by 12km to pick off the competition, overtaking Heemeryck to take 2nd place. Serving his penalty at the start of the final lap and dropping to fourth, he stayed calm and was soon back in second. Behind, David McNamee was the other fast mover, making up eight places during the run.

There was no doubt as to who would take the tape, however. In a breakthrough performance, Keulen gave everything he had to secure victory, collapsing over the line to take a US$25,000 (S$34,027) paycheck, score the maximum 35 points and jump to the top of the T100 series standings.

Long’s tenacious and powerful performance saw him take second again and another US$16,000 in the bank and add 28 points to his T100 series tally, putting him just one point behind Keulen.

Heemeryck held strong for third place, US$12,000 and 25 points.

Singapore T100 men’s Pro Race Standings:

  1. Youri Keulen (NED)- 3hr 21min 01sec
  2. Sam Long (USA) – 3:22:38
  3. Pieter Heemeryck (BEL) – 3:23:30
  4. David McNamee (SCO) – 3:26:03
  5. Kyle Smith (NZL) – 3:26:57

The day kicked off with races for amateurs, who tackled the 100km triathlon or one of two duathlon distances. The Standard Duathlon comprised a 5km Run, 32km Bike and another 5km Run, while Long Distance had a 9.5km Run, 64km Bike and 9.5km Run.

Among the participants was Singapore’s only Olympic champion, swimmer Joseph Schooling, who took part in the Standard Duathlon Team Relay alongside Singapore’s Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung and Member of Parliament Poh Li San. Ms Poh ran both 5km legs, while Mr Ong and Schooling shared the 32km bike course.

Schooling said: “That was a lot of fun. In swimming, you can’t really see your surroundings, but at least for this one, I could enjoy my atmosphere. There were a lot of challenging parts out there with a lot of fun parts coming down the hills, but overall it’s my first time doing something like this and it exceeded my expectations. Maybe I’ll go for the run next time, we’ll finish out the trio of events over three years. It’s a 5km run so why not, but I would also consider biking again.

“To have amateurs involved I think is critical,” said Singapore’s Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung. “First, I think we now have a very nice venue here, against the background of the skyline, around the water, just a very conducive environment for running a race. But I think it’s important to not just have a competitive race, but something that’s inclusive. People like me, who bikes at home on a stationary bike, don’t want to feel intimidated coming out and taking part. We really enjoyed ourselves. I think that’s wonderful.”

The T100 Tour now heads to San Francisco on 7-8 June.

A reminder of how the T100 Triathlon World Tour works

  • Each contracted athlete must complete a minimum of 5 races plus the Grand Final. Although racing obligations for athletes who’ve qualified and will compete in the Olympics have been reduced.
  • Athletes to score 35 points for first place to 1 pt for 20th place at each race
  • The Grand Final has increased points to up the ante (55 pts down to 4 pts)
  • Each athlete’s best three T100 race scores plus the Grand Final will count towards the the inaugural women’s and men’s T100 World Championship
  • $250,000 USD prize fund at each T100, totalling $2,000,000 across the eight races (1st place – $25,000k; 2nd – $16,000; 3rd – $12,000 at each race)
  • The series winners following the Grand Final will be crowned T100 Triathlon World Champion and collect $210,000 USD from an additional total prize pool of $2,000,000

-ends-

Notes To Editors:

Please find the new link to T100 photography access below, including instructions on how to set up your account.

  • Go to this link and set up an account https://t100triathlon.photoshelter.com/ by clicking Login in the top right hand corner.
  • If you have already signed up for multimedia access before, you need to use the same email address and will be immediately approved and ready to download T100 race images. If you’re new, pls visit our accreditation link here.

For Further Information:

Anthony Scammell E: [email protected]

About Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO)

The PTO is a sports body that is co-owned by its professional athletes, seeking to elevate and grow the sport of triathlon and take it to the next level. The T100 Triathlon World Tour is the new name for the PTO Tour and has been designated by World Triathlon as the ‘official World Championship for long distance triathlon’. It will be a season-long schedule of eight T100 races during 2024 that will be competed over 100km (2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run) and will feature the world’s best triathletes going head-to-head in Miami (9 March), Singapore (13-14 April), San Francisco (8-9 June), London (27-28 July), Ibiza (28-29 September), Lake Las Vegas (19-20 October), Dubai (16-17 November) and at the Grand Final (29-30 November). There will be racing opportunities for amateurs at all the events, including the new 100km distance at six stages, including: Singapore, London, Ibiza, Lake Las Vegas, Dubai and at the Grand Final. The broadcast will show the races live around the world in 195+ territories, courtesy of the PTO’s partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery as well as a range of other international, regional and local broadcasters.

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