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Murua closes out 2013 World Cup season with win

27 October 2013 by Erin Greene
Murua closes out 2013 World Cup season with win

Spain’s Ainhoa Murua won her first ever ITU World Cup gold in Guatapé  after heavy rain gave way to clear skies to create the perfect racing conditions. Despite having raced as an elite for 12 years, during which Murua has competed in three Olympic Games, she had yet to collect a World Cup win until Sunday.

Slovenia’s Mateja Simic crossed over after Murua, while French athlete Charlotte Morel earned bronze, making her first World Cup podium.

Torrential rain and lightning delayed the start of the women’s race by 20 minutes, with the rain ceasing during the swim but returning briefly during the bike ride, making for potentially treacherous conditions on the wet roads of the 40 km cycle circuit.

Japan’s Yuka Sato led the swim at the first lap, ahead of Murua and Morel, but Murua was first out of the water after the second lap, followed by Sato and Morel.

The three athletes powered away in the saddle but Morel had gained the lead by the first lap, circling the town’s main square, followed by Murua and Sato, with Spain’s Marina Damlaimcourt in fourth place as the rain intensified.

Leaving the town, Morel maintained the lead but Arina Shulgina of Russia moved into second place, with Sato a close third and Celine Schaerer of Switzerland closing out the peloton. Schaerer rode a fast second lap and had taken the lead as the riders returned to town, ahead of Morel and Damlaimcourt, with Murua now fourth.

Schaerer widened her lead during the switchback through town, with Murua third and Sato fourth. The second group of riders was made up of Luisa Baptista of Brazil, USA’s Lindsey Jerdonek and Romina Palacio Balena of Argentina.

But Schaerer suffered a setback during the third lap, with a punctured front tire that left her out of the race. Morel took advantage of the mechanical malfunction to take the helm, followed by Sato and Murua, while Damlaimcourt pedalled past Simic when the race slowed through town, putting her in fourth place.

Jerdonek broke away from the chase group to hold her own in fifth, with Valentina Carvallo of Chile leading the second group ahead of Margie Santimaria of Italy.

Morel had widened her lead at the transition, ahead of Murua, Sato and Simic, but the pace of the run proved too fast for Sato, who began to drag, slipping into fourth place at the first lap. Meanwhile, ahead of her Murua found her running feet and moved into the lead ahead of Simic and Morel. Undeterred, Sato accelerated at the lap’s halfway point and moved into second place, but had trailed again into fifth place behind Damlaimcourt at the start of the third lap, while Murua held the lead and widened her advantage over Simic and Morel.

Winning her first major ITU triathlon gold in Guatape, the Basque-born athlete completed the race in two hours, 14 minutes and 48 seconds, with Simic 25 seconds behind at 2.15:13 and Morel coming in at 2.15:32.

Article written by Adam Critchley

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