Belaubre and Blatchford win in Salford
The skies cleared in the northeast of England for the 3rd staging of the Salford ITU World Cup Triathlon creating near perfect conditions for the athletes and the tens of thousands of fans who lined the course.
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In the women’s event, the current World Champion, Sheila Taormina of the USA and Leanda Cave of Britain, the 2002 World Champion, got off to a great start and swam shoulder to shoulder through the first 300 metres. Akane Furutani of Japan, and British team-mates Liz Blatchford and Helen Tucker were tucked in behind taking advantage of the draft. Cave pulled away from Taormina on the second lap of the 1500m swim and captured the swim prime by being the first to exit to the swim to bike transition.
Once onto the flat, 4 lap, 40km bike, Taormina, Cave, Blatchford, and Tucker got organized early as Furutani was dropped early on. Magali di Marco Messmer of Switzerland worked hard on the first lap and was able to join the quartet at the front.
Meanwhile, British team-mates Michelle Dillon, Andrea Whitcombe and Helen Lawrence who were a full minute behind after the swim teamed up with Samantha Warriner of New Zealand, the winner of the Ishigaki World Cup earlier this year, and went to work to shorten the gap to the leaders.
The leaders worked well at the front, and gained some time on each lap. Sheila Taormina out-sprinted the pack to the prime line on the 2nd lap, as di Marco Messmer nabbed the prime on the 3rd lap.
The excitement of trying to capture the primes had the added effect of increasing the lead group’s gap to the chasers, and despite the good cyclist in the chase pack such as Warriner, Dillon and Whitcombe they were back almost 1:30 by the time they reached the bike to run transition.
Once on the 3 lap, 10km run, Liz Blatchford took control and moved to the front. Dillon and Warriner, a good 1:30 seconds back at the start of the run started to close in on the leaders, but it was the full time teacher from Auckland who spoiled the British hopes of a clean sweep of the podium. On the final lap Warriner took 40 seconds out of the leader and posted the fastest run split of the day at 34:14. It was enough take 2nd behind Blatchford, as Helen Tucker, in her first World Cup, dropped Leanda Cave on the last lap to take third. Helen Lawrence, who also ran from the chase pack, rounded out the top 5.
The British team had a wonderful day on home turf, placing 6 athletes in the top 10.
By the time the men’s event got underway, the spectators were 8 deep around the Salford Quay canal. A trio of swimmers took to the front at the starter’s signal with Brazil’s Paulo Miyashiro in the lead followed by Russian team-mates Ivan Vassiliev and Valentin Meshcheryakov. Close behind them the chase group consisted of Harry Wiltshire, competing in his first World Cup, Frederic Belaubre of France and Sander Berk of the Netherlands.
Miyashiro was the first to exit the water so he took the swim prime. However, the leaders were unable to get away, and a virtual storm of almost 50 athletes swept through transition together and onto the bike.
The newly implemented ITU bike primes on lap 2 and 3 served their purpose by shaking up the huge pack while adding another spectacle for the crowd. And a spectacle it was with over 40 men charging for the prime line. Sebastian Berlier of France, with the great French cycling tradition in his bones won both primes much to the delight of everyone.
After the second prime Marco Albert of Estonia and Frederic Belaubre decided to stay the pace and broke off the front. They really put the hammer down on the last lap and sped through transition with a 40 second on the huge chase pack behind.
With all the great runners in the chase pack such as British team-mates Tim Don (who has already won 3 World Cup events this year,) Andrew Johns and Stuart Hayes, along with Brad Kahlefeldt of Australia and Reto Hug of Switzerland, the skeptics in the crowd did not hold out too much hope for the two at the front. Albert was swallowed up by the pack on the first lap of the run, but much to everyone’s surprise the young French athlete gave up only 10 second to the chasers and was running in great form,.
Belaubre settled into a solid 10km run off the bike to hold off the chasers and post his first World Cup victory since Madrid in 2004. Filip Osplay of the Czech Republic posted the fastest run split of the day to finish 2nd, while Tim Don found the last step on the podium. Reto Hug was 4th and Brad Kahlefeldt is 5th.
In the World Cup Rankings, The top 3 remain the same with Australia’s Annabel Luxford and Emma Snowsill occupying the top 2 positions and Kiyomi Niwata of Japan remains in third. In the men’s standings the gap has narrowed to 15 points between World Cup leader Hunter Kemper of the USA and Tim Don of Britain. There is also an interesting race on for the 3 place in the rankings between Courtney Atkinson of Australia and USA team-mates Matt Reed and Victor Plata.
A 52 minute television show of the Salford ITU World Cup will be distributed to broadcasters in over 70 countries next week and video footage of the race will be available shortly on www.triathlon.org .
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Related Event: 2005 Salford ITU Triathlon World Cup
|Results: Elite Men|
|Results: Elite Women|
|8.||Magali Di Marco||SUI||02:04:43|
|10.||Ainhoa Murua Zubizarreta||ESP||02:04:54|