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Spirig takes gold at Edmonton triathlon

Nicola Spirig waves the Swiss flag in triumph as she crosses the finishing line Keystone

Swiss junior triathlete Nicola Spirig sensationally won the junior title at the World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton on Sunday.

This content was published on July 22, 2001 - 12:41

The Zurich-based 19-year-old proved why she was gold medal material during the final, gruelling 10km race which followed 1.5km of swimming and a 40km bike ride.

It was in the last few seconds of the race that Spirig showed she was in a different class to her competitors, stealing a quarter of a minute over her nearest rival, Italy's Beatrice Lanza, to finish the event with a time of 2:04.11.

Britain's Jody Swallow, the current junior European champion, came in third, 34 seconds behind the Swiss.

Competitors had to brave wet conditions on the cycling course, which provided Spirig with her only serious challenge during the event. The Swiss star fell as she passed the 7km mark, but picked herself up with only a few scratches.

"My main objective," Spirig said as she celebrated victory, "was to win a podium place. To take the gold medal is quite simply fantastic."

Swiss compatriot Sven Riederer was unable to match Spirig's success in the boys' event, but still managed to finish in a respectable ninth place, losing out on a podium place by only 65 seconds. Germany's Sebastian Dehmer took the boys' title with a time of 1:51.22.

The triathlon has become one of Switzerland's strongest sports, following Brigitte McMahon's gold and Magali Messmer's bronze at the Sydney Olympics last summer.

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