September 9, 2011 (Beijing, China) – USA Triathlon Project 2016 program member Greg Billington (Colorado Springs, Colo.) raced his way to a fourth-place finish in Friday’s ITU Under-23 World Championships with a time of 1:52:38 on the 2008 Beijing Olympic course.
After a solid swim split, Billington made the lead pack of the bike out of T1. Three riders made an early break, but their 70-second advantage onto the run course was erased by the second of four laps.
Billington established himself among a lead group of five, and he ran stride-by-stride with a trio British athletes entering the bell lap. Eventual winner Matthew Sharp pushed the pace to take a five-second win over countryman David McNamee. Great Britain’s Thomas Bishop was third.
“I had a better swim than usual,” said Billington, who ran collegiately at Wake Forest. “Coming down to the run I thought I could take it to them. I tried to take the lead and throw in a couple of surges but it wasn’t enough.”
Despite just missing the podium, Friday’s race capped a remarkable comeback by Billington, who was struck by a car in April and missed a great deal of the season. “It was fun running on the Olympic course, and I’m glad to be here,” he said. “It’s always fun racing against the best in the world, and hopefully I can continue improving and step it up a notch.”
2011 ITU Men’s Under-23 World Championships
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
1. Matthew Sharp (GBR), 1:52:12
2. David McNamee (GBR), 1:52:17
3. Thomas Bishop (GBR), 1:52:19
4. Greg Billington (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:52:38
DNF Nicolas Tautiva (Clermont, Fla.)