The United States showcased its strength halfway around the world on Sunday as Kaitlin Donner and Renee Tomlin claimed the gold and silver in the Elite Women 2015 World Cup in New Plymouth. Crossing the finish line with a time of 1:00:18, Donner’s New Zealand win gives her, her first World Cup title of her career.
Under cloudy skies, cold temperatures and driving rain making conditions over the course difficult, the women’s race brought about a consistent large pack that formed early and remained together for the majority of the race. Donner, who remained at large in the lead pack throughout the last two disciplines, earned her World Cup crown in the final lap of the run after breaking away from Tomlin in the final stretch to end just a second apart.
“It was a great race. We had tough conditions this morning when we came out here and the swim was rough, but you can’t complain with the U.S. going one and two on the podium,” said Donner.
Earlier Carolina Routier (ESP) and Tamara Gorman (USA) led the field out of the sprint distance 750m swim. Then heading into a hectic and busy first transition, on the bike the first lead pack formed with Routier, Margit Vanek (HUN) and Yuko Takhashi (JPN) starting out as the driving force in the front group over the technical five-lap bike course.
Tamara Garrido Gomez (ESP) who was able to pick up her first career World Cup title last week in Mooloolaba, unfortunately fell in the first lap of the bike and was forced to exit the race.
A pack of about 17 held strong through the bike portion with Donner, Emmie Charayon (FRA), Ventula Fintova (CZE) and Sophie Corbidge (NZL) leading the charge. With the chase group holding onto a 14-second deficit, the frontrunners carried a performance together all the way through the second transition and leaving the separation of fate to the last three running laps.
As they hit the pavement onto the three-lap run course, Donner laid down the pace and stayed consistent throughout the remainder of the five-kilometre finish. Despite Tomlin’s effort to gain some last-lap momentum and close the gap between her and Donner, it was Donner who was able to cross the line first and claim the top podium position.
Donner said, “In the last lap I really had no idea where Tomlin was, really I was just building into the run like I did in Abu Dhabi so I was just trying to run my race and it worked out for me today.”
Tomlin crossed the line for silver today after the younger competitor finished with a time of 1:01:18.
“I am looking forward to a 10-K where I have a little bit more room, but it was my first podium finish in a World Cup so I am really happy with it,” said Tomlin.
Frintova claimed the last podium position after she was able to walk away with the bronze.
Donner placed 10th in Abu Dhabi at the start of the 2015 triathlon season, and her last podium finish was in the 2014 Tiszaujvaros ITU Triathlon World Cup where she took third.