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The 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series officially debuted with an exciting and emotional sprint finish that saw New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt take the gold at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi.
Hewitt’s win was a long time coming as her victory was dedicated to her beloved and talented fiancé, the late Laurent Vidal, who was honored after his passing with the number one position in the same venue just one year ago.
“It was an amazing race for me, it is amazing coming here to Abu Dhabi for me. Last year the number one spot was dedicated to Laurent and this year I am dedicating to Laurent. I raced two weeks ago, my race of this year in Tiga and I won. So I knew I was coming here really fit. Laurent always told me that I had everything, I had the dedication, I had the integrity, I had talent and he told me the one thing I was missing was emotion and I didn’t show it a lot of the time,” Hewitt said through tears. “I have to say thank you to Maddie Dillon, she has been beside me for one year and knows exactly what I am going through and my friends, my family I just want to thank everyone.”
Earning the silver medal was Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson, who was edged out by Hewitt by just an inch in an epic sprint battle that came down to the wire. Third place went to Austria’s Sara Vilic, who stepped onto the WTS podium for the very first time.
Read the complete race recap at Triathlon.org.
Photos: Janos Schmidt/Triathlon.org