Singapore T100 triathlon: Unfancied Youri Keulen wins men's pro race, while Ashleigh Gentle retains women's title

Newly-retired Joseph Schooling tries his hand in cycling in the Standard Duathlon team relay with Minister Ong Ye Kung and MP Poh Li San

Singapore T100 Men's Pro Race winner Youri Keulen and Women's Pro Race winner Ashleigh Gentle. (PHOTOS: Professional Triathletes Organisation)
Singapore T100 Men's Pro Race winner Youri Keulen and Women's Pro Race winner Ashleigh Gentle. (PHOTOS: Professional Triathletes Organisation)

SINGAPORE — A day after Ashleigh Gentle retained her women's pro title at the Singapore T100 triathlon event, a new men's champion was crowned as Dutch wildcard Youri Keulen claimed his first T100 victory on Sunday (April 14).

The 25-year-old clinched the thrilling race in Marina Bay in 3hr 21min 1sec, managing to fend off Sam Long - runner-up in the season-opening Miami T100 race last month - as the American charged to second place after coming out of the swim last and serving a 30-second penalty for leaving his swim kit out of the box during transition to clock 3:22:38.

Belgian Pieter Heemeryck finished third in 3:23:30.

Keulen - who finished fourth in Miami - took the lead early in the bike leg and never looked back, collapsing after crossing the finish line.

“I’m delighted with the win, but I'm exhausted," was all he could offer as he received immediate medical attention. He nonetheless earned US$25,000 for the triumph, scored the maximum 35 points and jumped to the top of the T100 series standings.

Meanwhile, Long was in high spirits, hyping the crowd up and celebrating as he jumped across the finish line. "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," he said.

"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. But I just used it to compose myself and get the crowd pumped up and carry on with my day."

Gentle comes from behind to retain title

On Saturday, defending champion Gentle conquered the Singapore heat and humidity, producing a stunning performance to come from behind and retain the Women’s Pro title.

The 33-year-old Australian clocked 3:44:23, completing the 18km run in 1:09:10 to trump reigning Ironman world champion Lucy Charles-Barclay (3:45:58) and surprise podium finisher Els Visser of the Netherlands (3:51:38).

“It feels a bit surreal to be honest. It surprised me a little bit but I’m obviously very happy," Gentle said after winning in her first triathlon of 2024.

"Last year I found my flow and felt really comfortable and strong, whereas this year it was very gritty, it was hard. So same result, but the feelings to get that result was so different so it’s just one of those things where you kind of have to persevere no matter what circumstances you’re dealt with."

Charles-Barclay, 30, will rue her chances after leading most of the race at Marina Bay as the wait for her first T100 win goes on. The Briton had also finished runner-up in the season-opening Miami T100 last month.

Nonetheless, she remained upbeat, saying, "I was happy with the performance. I felt pretty strong throughout. It’s bittersweet being at the front all that time but I felt really strong and I think I just want to build each race.

"It was definitely a better performance than in the first race in Miami and definitely a much better performance than last year here in Singapore. So I feel like everything's stepping in the right direction."

Joseph Schooling cycles for Standard Duathlon team relay

Sunday 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 newly-retired Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, who took part in the Standard Duathlon team relay alongside Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung and Member of Parliament Poh Li San. Poh ran both 5km legs, while Ong and Schooling shared the 32km bike course.

“In swimming, you can’t really see your surroundings, but at least for this one, I could enjoy my atmosphere," Schooling said after his race. "It’s my first time doing something like this and it exceeded my expectations. Maybe I’ll go for the run next time."

The next T100 race is in San Francisco in June.

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