Valentina Carvallo (CHI) captured her first World Cup title after scorching through a testing bike course that she followed up with blistering run at the Huatulco World Cup.
The USA’s Kirsten Kasper ensured the US was represented on the podium, as they have been at all but one World Cup and World Triathlon Series race so far this season, with third. It was the first time each of the women had ever secured a World Cup podium finish.
With just a one-lap dip in the ocean on tap for the athletes in Huatulco, the swim didn’t serve to break the athletes up as a group of more than 15 played follow the leader out of the water.
Home country favorite Claudia Rivas and last year’s winner Lisa Perterer (AUT) took control of the bike early on along with Denmark’s Line Thams to create a minute wide gap over the chase by midway through the four-lap course.
As Carvallo charged up the challenging hill each lap at the helm of the 15-athlete deep lead pack, another 10 athletes worked to bridge up including the likes of Erin Densham (AUS), Erin Jones (USA), Renee Tomlin (USA) and Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) after falling behind due to an uphill crash on the first lap of the bike.
“I didn’t feel super great in the water. I was able to make up a little bit of distance in the transition to leave and have a good first lap,” Carvallo said. “I wanted to be in the top group so I could relax a little bit on the bike. I knew I needed anther good transition after that and from there on I felt really comfortable, So I’m very happy.”
But with her first World Cup title on the line, Carvallo made her move quickly. She pushed ahead early on the first lap for a 25-second advantage over Annen and Simic while last year’s silver medallist Rivas fell off the pace.
With the title all but clenched by Carvallo, the hunt for silver was on. Annen took advantage in the last lap of the run to push ahead of Simic and secure the silver medal. With Simic looking like she may take the final spot on the podium, it was Kasper who showcased her strong ability on the run to pass her and take her first World Cup podium.