Lewis completes miraculous double with Para Triathlon World Cup victory
Winning a Para Triathlon World Cup in 32-degree heat and 98 per cent humidity is one thing.
To do it just a few weeks after taking World Championship glory takes that up a notch.
But to win both less than four months after a cycling crash which left him with a badly-damaged shoulder, a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a combined 22 stitches across his hip and knee?
That raises the bar to a whole new level for British star Andy Lewis.
While he had entered last month’s World Championships as PTS2 title holder, few had expected the Paralympic champion to do the double in Rotterdam, with a career-threatening injury leaving his paratriathlon career hanging in the balance.
But with that win came the relief of the pressure lifting from his shoulders – responding in even more remarkable fashion on Sunday in Florida.
Battling searing heat and almost 100 per cent humidity, Lewis was the man to storm to victory in the reduced-distance race – completing a period for which the word turbulent doesn’t quite cover.
“Well, a brief breakdown of my race – HOT HOT HOT that’s all,” he said.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it, 32 degrees and 98 per cent humidity. Great experience." Andy Lewis
“Going into the Worlds, I was very nervous. I had to take six weeks off training because of the crash. I was doing 45kph downhill when a dog ran across the road and took me out.
“But it all seemed to slot together.”
Despite the glory, this was a race that was supposed to be experimental for Lewis.
However, with the heat too great and the swim section switched for a second run, a chance to try out his new non-wetsuit swim was not to be forthcoming, while he did experiment with a new bike set-up and different blade.
The disruption was not going to stop him winning though, in a time of 1:11.50, edging out American Allan Armstrong in second.
And with his Rio 2016 Paralympic success still fresh in his mind, the latest addition to his trophy cabinet is not bad for someone who, just a few years ago, had numerous questions about his new sport – having only begun para triathlon four years ago.
“My career so far has been short, but a very steep learning curve,” Lewis said.
“I laughed when I was first approached to try triathlon as I didn’t even know what order it happened in.
“People around me always told me that I had the talent to go far, but I never believed it myself.”