Tyler Butterfield beat cramp to finish third in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon — a result he ranked as the most satisfying of his career.

The Bermudian two-time Olympian conquered searing 30C-plus heat to earn a podium finish in the gruelling long-course three-kilometre swim, 200km cycle and 20km run event.

Butterfield posted a time of six hours 47min 10 sec, 6:08 minutes behind winner Frederik van Lierde, of Belgium. Eneko Llanus, champion in 2010, finished second.

The Bermudian, who is based in Colorado, used the Middle East race as the start of his bid to reach the 2013 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in October.

He suffered bad cramps during the bike section but was elated he managed to pull through.

“This is probably my best result ever I am the happiest about and I'm very happy to be up with Frederik and Eneko,” he told Sport360. “But they were in a whole different class. They ran better, on the bike they were comfortable all day.

“I think Frederik wanted to go harder, earlier and he kept looking. A couple of times he waved his hand but I just wasn’t in a position; my legs were cramping at about halfway.”

He added: “I was pleased, in races like these you can be third or you can DNF. There was a point when my legs almost locked out and I thought ‘I don’t know if I’m going to finish’.”

Butterfield’s wife Nikki, the defending women’s champion, pulled out of the bike leg with cramps.

The short-course race in the UAE capital was won by Britain’s Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee in a new course record of 3hrs 20min 18 secs.

Watch race highlights by using the following link www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le3ZNCFSMZk