White Endures a Crash Ridden Start to Season

WTS Abu Dhabi Swim Start Russell

Ireland's top ranked triathlete, Russell White, battled through two heavy crashes to finish a disappointing 43rd in the opening race of the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi. White described the race afterwards as "not a great day in the office" after the 26 year old hit the deck twice while battling for position on the rain effected course.

In a unique layout, the bike and run leg of the course take place on the Formula 1 track. Conditions on the day were unusually wet and in turn the technical bike leg of the race proved somewhat slick, causing more than a few Did Not Finishes (DNFs) in both the men's and women's races. Eventual winner Henri Schoeman led from start to finish, in only the second time this has happened in WTS history. Mario Mola of Spain finished in second with the fastest run split (14.27) of the day and Vincent Luis, France in third.

WTS Abu Dhabi Russell Swim Exit

A strong start for white

Russell White climbed to 15th place on the bike, looking strong and comfortable in the chasing group. White had a crash on entry into a tunnel on the Formula 1 track, a point which claimed more than a few victims in both the men's and women's races. 

He had caught back on to a group before a second crash coming into the last straight on the bike. Despite his injuries, Russell carried on to complete the run section, showing a massive amount of grit and determination in finishing the race.

WTS Abu Dhabi Bike Leg

Triathlon Ireland's High Performance Manager, Stephen Delaney, is in Abu Dhabi and highlights how tough today was;

"It was a tough day of racing and in the end we got a top class podium as you'd expect. But it was a real battle on the bike and a lot came down in the crashes all around the circuit."

"(Russell) showed he is in good form heading into the Commonwealth Games, looking strong as he moved up. Just have to make sure no damage done today."

russell's race report

Russell kindly sent us in the following report on his race:

So, not a great day in the office for my season opener.

Training had gone well in America over the past two months and I went into the race feeling confident and excited to race again.

With out of the ordinary rain for Abu Dhabi before and during the race, everyone knew today was going to be crazy.

I didn't have the best of swims or anywhere near where I am capable of but I got caught up in some fighting about the first few buoys and lost a lot of placings, but when I got clean water to swim, I felt as if my fitness was OK.

The bike was very sketchy with crashing happening from the very first corner, every twist turn and bend people were coming down and it was a case of trying to stay up and avoiding the people on the ground.

During the first three laps of the course I moved up well and felt strong and confident managing my way up to the front of the race before managing to crash myself, sliding out going down under the tunnel section.

I managed to get back up and cycle myself back on to the chase pack that had passed me when I was fixing my chain.

Unfortunately I ended up crashing again on the last lap of the bike as another slid out in front of me, resulting in me being gapped by the pack I had managed to catch up with.

The run was not great, even though I went into the race with new found confidence in my running legs but after the second crash my body was sore and shaken almost in a state of shock and I struggled to get into any rhythm but I'm glad I finished.

Now onto Australia tomorrow and hopefully I will have healed up in time before Mooloolaba WC next weekend.

You can follow Russell on FacebookTwitter and on Instagram at the links highlighted to see his journey to the Commonwealth Games. We will also be keeping you updated here on the TI website so keep an eye on our news feed.