In her rookie elite triathlon season, Katie Hursey (USA) made a name for herself as she killed the run in Palamos to win her first World Cup title in two hours, one minute, 19 seconds.
“I just looked at as a swim race, a bike race and a run race,” Hursey said. “I tried my hardest in all three and it worked out today. “
The run was also key for Italy’s Annamaria Mazzetti and Australia’s Tamsyn Moana-Veale, as they both made up a sizeable gap off the bike to run themselves onto the podium. Mazzetti took silver in 2:02:06, while Moana-Veale was third in 2:02:08.
The usual suspects were out of the water first, which saw the return of Lucy Hall (GBR) to racing after a break due to injury. Reminiscent of the 2012 Banyoles World Cup, local hope Carolina Routier followed Hall out of the two-lap beach swim with a 17-second lead.
Natalie Milne (GBR), who crushed the swim at the World Triathlon Kitzbuehel, wasn’t far off and quickly joined Hall & Routier out of transition as did Americans Erin Jones and Hursey. The five formed a lead pack and hustled on the first lap for a 50-second advantage.
While strong athletes like Mazzetti, Kirsten Sweetland (CAN), Ainhoa Murua (ESP) and Amelie Kretz (CAN) rode in the chase group, the 18-deep pack couldn’t manage to bridge up despite Sweetland’s attempts to push the pace. On the second lap, the group looked prepared to reel in the fast five, chipping away seven seconds of the leaders’ advantage.
But their spark of energy was short lived as they fell back to a 51-second deficit midway through the seven-lap bike course. With a stroke of bad luck, Hall fell to the second chase group and out of contention for the podium on the sixth lap, but that didn’t stop the leaders from plowing to a 1:13 advantage with just one lap to go.
The quad of Hursey, Jones, Routier and Milne stormed out on the run course with a 1:24 head start. With a running background, Hursey took off and never looked back on the three-lap course. Straight away she worked to build her lead, cruising 22 seconds ahead of teammate on the first time around the circuit. It only increased from there, earning Hursey her first ITU podium.
“Sometimes I think it’s a nice a little warm up to do the swim and the bike first and get off and already have your legs ready,” said Hursey.
Meanwhile, Mazzetti, Sweetland and Moana-Veale worked to cross the gaping hole left by the leaders on the run course. Moana-Veale went first, overtaking Jones on the second lap, but Mazzetti executed a solid race plan to keep the Aussie in sight. The Italian struck just at the last moment, sprinting past Moana-Veale in the final metres for silver and leaving bronze for Moana-Veale.
“When we started the run I knew there was a group ahead,” Moana-Veale said. “I was just trying to tick them off and get myself into podium position. I was really hoping for second but it didn’t quite happen. But I"m still really stoked.”