Peter Wilby (centre) took gold an the 30-34 age category at the World Triathlon Championships. Daneil Mannweiler (left) finished second with Thomas Leboucher (right) third.

University Tri-athlete takes gold at World Championships

University of Exeter mature student Peter Wilby has clinched a superb victory in the Long Distance ITU World Championships at Belfort, France.

Hundreds of tri-athletes from across the globe flocked to Belfort on 1 June for the event, which incorporated a challenging bike route from the tour de France’s Ballon D'Alsace stage.

Adverse weather caused difficult conditions throughout the event; an unexpected cold snap in the region leading  to the route being changed for safety reasons. The cancellation of the swimming shortened the course to a middle distance duathlon, incorporating a 9.5km run, 87km bike and a final 20km run. 

The Exercise and Sports Science student entered the event as part of the Great Britain “Age Group” team, a “non-elite” triathlon format that allows competitors to compete for medals in pre-define age group categories.

Competing in the 30-34 years category, Peter stormed to victory with an impressive time of 04:39:29 making him the first British entrant home across the whole event. Second place went to Germany’s Daniel Mannweiler (04:40:54) with France’s Thomas Leboucher (04:41:27) taking third.

Overall the British Team brought home an impressive 10 medals, including three golds, four silvers and three bronzes. A member of the University of Exeter Triathlon club, this result adds to Peter’s fifth place finish at the Vitoria-Gasteiz ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships last year in Spain and positions him as a leading force in Age Group triathlon events.

“The bike route was taken from the Tour de France and is the start of the mountain routes – which suited me. However, due to low air and water temperatures the ITU rules meant that the route was shortened.” Peter commented. “I had a very slow first run but really enjoyed the bike up the Ballon D’Alsace. The second run was hard but enjoyable.”

“It was my target to get on the podium but I never thought I would win. After just finishing the third year of my Exercise and Sports Sciences degree it is a doubly good feeling.”

As a Performance Athlete Peter has received specialist support, training and physio from the University’s High Performance Unit. Assistant Director of Sport (Performance and Competitions), Nick Beasant added: “This is a fantastic result for Peter, who has shown incredible commitment and determination in his training and competitions.

“To be crowned champion of the world for your age category is a brilliant achievement. Triathlon is an incredibly challenging discipline requiring exceptional all round levels of fitness, particularly when competing at such a high level.

“It is always pleasing to see athletes achieving international success. The University is committed to providing opportunities for all our performance students to develop, progress and compete at the highest level in all disciplines and we are always delighted when they cap this off by bringing home a gold medal.”

Date: 13 June 2013