Fleurton takes first world cup win in Cancun
Cancun, Mexico - For immediate release: Jill
Savege of Canada, in her first World Cup since the Athens Olympic Games, led
the women’s field through the first of 2 laps on the 1500 swim, and then dropped
back on the second lap.
It was Leanda Cave of Great Britain, the 2002 World Champion, who exited the water first and sped through transition onto the 8 lap, 40km bike course. Cave was followed by Sandra Soldan of Brazil, Liz Blatchford of Britain, Anja Dittmer of Germany - the current World Cup leader, and Julie Swail of the USA.
An unfortunate crash on the first lap took both Leanda Cave and Annabel Luxford of Australia out of the event, which ended both their hopes of moving up the World Cup rankings.
The chase pack included Canadian team-mates Jill Savege and Carol Montgomery, Silvia Gemignani of Italy, and Liz Blatchford of Britain. Also in that group was Magali Di Marco Messmer of Switzerland making her first appearance in World Cup racing since her bronze medal win at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
The groups played a cautious game following the crash on the first lap, except for the 2nd chase group who pulled out all the stops in an effort to catch up after the swim. Led by the top cyclists in the group, Samantha McGlone and Ana Burgos, they caught the 2nd pack on the 6th lap and used the momentum to close in on the leaders.
By the bell lap the large chase pack was just under 2 minutes behind.
Anja Dittmer was the first one from the group of 5 at the front to pass through the bike to run transition and onto the 4 lap, 10km run course. Tara Ross of Canada was second out followed by Sandra Soldan, Joanna Zeiger and Julie Swail.
Zeiger led through the first lap of the run with Dittmer sitting on her shoulder, as Sandra Soldan, Tara Ross, Julie Swail dropped off the pace.
The chase pack was led through transition by Liz Blatchford, who set off on the run course at a serious pace. On the first lap she closed the gap to the leaders by 40 seconds and appeared to be on her way to catching them. The trio of Carol Montgomery, Nadia Cortassa and Samantha McGlone were trying hard to keep pace with Blatchford.
On the second lap Sandra Soldan joined Zeiger and Dittmer at the front, but dropped back again through the third lap as Dittmer played a cat and mouse game with the veteran America.
Liz Blatchford was unable to stay the pace she set during the 1st lap and was joined by Carol Montgomery and Samantha McGlone, who together had reeled the leaders in to a 1 minute gap.
As the bell rang signaling the final lap, Joanna Zeiger was still in the lead with Anja Dittmer velcroed to her shoulder as Sandra Soldan dropped off the pace. Meanwhile Samantha McGlone moved into 4th position overtaking her team-mate Tara Ross.
On the last lap, Dittmer did what she has done so often before - she found that hidden gear and moved the pace up on Zeiger who was not able to respond. She romped home to take her 3rd World Cup win by 16 seconds and an almost unbeatable lead in the World Cup Series. Soldan held off a surging McGlone for 3rd and Liz Blatchford rounded out the top 5.
The trio desperately tried to get away on the over 25 men who exited the swim within 20 seconds of them, but they just didn’t have enough time for the slick way that the chasers breezed through their swim to bike transition.
Bryce Quirk of Australia led the pack through the first lap with Shane Reed of New Zealand, Courtney Atkinson and Hunter Kemper of the USA on his tail. He tried to get someone to go with him off the front, when Mexico’s Uzziel Valderrabano took a nasty spill causing the leaders to lose their nerve momentarily.
Joe Umphenour of the USA pushed the pace on the lead pack and then joined forces with his American team-mate Matt Reed to make a break from the peleton. The most they were able to muster was a 15 second gap on the pack until Bryce Quirk put an end to their chances of getting away. Once he caught them, he built on the momentum and rather than sitting in the pack for a rotation he attacked and took Cedric Fleureton of France with him. Up to this point Fleureton had been an interested observer of the game of cat and mouse that was going on, never losing contact with any serious breakaway attempts.
The pack led by Marko Albert bridged to the breakaway group on the 7th lap and for a brief time everyone seemed content to wait for the run.
Not noted for his patience, Mark Fretta of the USA took matters into his own hands on the final lap and got away from the leaders, buying himself some clear space as he entered the transition all alone. He also posted the fastest bike split of the day.
Fretta was clear onto the run when the “storm” of over 20 athletes blew through transition and exited onto the run course within 10 seconds.
By the end of the 1st lap Fleureton caught Fretta as the fluidity with which he powered his way over the flat 10km course caused many an eyebrow to rise.
Joe Umphenour, Tim Don, Courtney Atkinson and Hunter Kemper emerged from the pack on Fleureton’s heels, but let the wiry Frenchman build up too much of lead on the 1st lap.
Fleureton led each lap through the stadium filled with triathlon-crazy Mexican spectators, as he seemed to draw energy from their enthusiasm.
Kemper, although on pace to pull the leader in, was never able to make up enough ground and Fleureton swept home for his first World Cup victory. His previous best was at the 2003 Athens Olympic Games test event where he had that amazing sprint finish with Rasmus Henning.
Kemper took the silver medal, 13 seconds back with Tim Don rounded out the podium, a further 16 seconds back.
Dimitri Gaag of Kazakhstan, the current World Cup leader took it easy today with a 10th place finish, safe in the knowledge that his stranglehold on the overall title and share of the US$100,000 bonus purse is secure.
The next and final stop on the World Cup circuit is next weekend at the Rio ITU World Cup on Copacabana Beach.
Although Anja Dittmer and Dimitri Gaag have pretty well wrapped up the overall World Cup title, places 2 and 3 and the share of the $100,000us bonus purse are still very much up for grabs, which make the final to this highly successful 2004 World Cup most interesting.
For complete results, stories, and photos from Cancun, please visit www.triathlon.org.
For high resolution photos please contact ITU Media at: firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to tune in to www.triathlon.org next weekend for event coverage from the Rio ITU World Cup.
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Related Event: 2003 Cancun ITU Triathlon World Cup
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