Manuela Schär continued her domination of the AbbottWMM women’s wheelchair series XII with her third win in three races as she retained her TCS New York City Marathon title.
The Swiss star has now strung Berlin, Chicago and New York together to take a commanding lead in the standings, but she worked every inch of the way for this one.
The 33-year-old was locked in a wheel-to-wheel battle with arch rival Tatyana McFadden for the entire way. The American, hunting her sixth win in the Big Apple, edged Schär out for the eight bonus points on offer at the 20km sprint point and the pair continued to swap the lead as they tussled throughout the second half of the race.
Each time one or the other made an attempt to get away, the response came, and it wasn’t until they were into the shade of the Central Park trees that Schär finally managed to snap the elastic.
The Series XI champion has rarely won an AbbottWMM race by anything other than a wide margin, leaving her competition way behind as early as she could.
But this was a first, not only coming out on top in a tit-for-tat street fight but also proving herself able to cope with McFadden’s famed strength on New York’s many uphills.
The duo were beyond the 35km mark before Schär’s final effort proved the difference, and the emotion was etched on her face as she rolled through the finish line.
With Tokyo on the horizon – a race she won comfortably to virtually seal the Series XI title – Schär’s competition already has it all to do to if she is to be denied a second consecutive silver salver.
In the men’s race, Daniel Romanchuk proved that his victory at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October was no flash in the pan.
The 20-year-old American traded blows with Marcel Hug and David Weir for the full 26 miles before cranking those enormous arms into gear for a sprint that handed him a maiden TCS New York City title.
Romanchuk’s devastating turn of speed left Hug and Weir with no answer, and perhaps signaled that the balance of power that has for so long rested in Europe as far as men’s wheelchair racing is concerned, is tilting across the Atlantic.
Romanchuk had earlier taken the eight bonus points for the 20km sprint, just as he had done in Chicago. It means he has amassed 66 points in two races. Allied to the single point he claimed in Berlin, he looks to be the man to beat in this Series.
The only other race winner so far in Series XII is Canadian Brent Lakatos. The Berlin champion is heading for Tokyo when the season resumes, and he will find a Romanchuk with a whole new level of confidence waiting for him.