Following the first sprint distance event of the World Triathlon Series season, the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings Report is back to review all of the insights and statistics from round three of the WTS, the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town.
With the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain, the South African venue welcomed back a former ITU World Champion to the top step of the podium, while a first time WTS winner made a strong claim for Olympic selection.
British athletes really do seem at home in Cape Town. Having won the previous two editions of this event through Jodie Stimpson (2014) and Vicky Holland (2015), the 2013 ITU World Champion, Non Stanford (GBR), continued that run of success in her first race of 2016. Continuing the theme, that’s now three races and three separate female British winners so far this year in the World Triathlon Series. For Stanford that represents her third career WTS gold and brings her podium total to eight.
Performance of the day could well go to Stanford’s teammate, Jodie Stimpson. After a winning start to the year in Abu Dhabi, Stimpson was devastated after a disappointing 12th place in Gold Coast meant that she missed the final opportunity for Olympic selection in what is an exceptionally strong British team. A silver medal, also her eighth career WTS podium, means that British athletes have filled five of the nine possible podium spots over the three years of the Cape Town event. The only other time the British women have finished as one-two in a World Triathlon Series event? Cape Town 2014.
Flora Duffy (BER) had an exciting race in Cape Town. Based in nearby Stellenbosch for much of the year, Flora’s local knowledge saw her make a tactical directional decision in the swim which paid off, leaving her with a significant gap over the main field at T1. Having finished fourth in the first two races of the season, Flora was motivated to reach the podium and kept up the attack on the bike. When she was caught by the huge chase pack on arriving in T2 that looked in question. Always a strong swim-biker, Duffy has developed as a complete triathlete and despite her efforts on the bike, the third fastest run of the day brought her home to a bronze medal. The new leader of the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, Duffy is the only female athlete to have finished in the top ten in all three races on 2016. Flora crossed the line eight seconds ahead of Anne Haug (GER)… which is exactly the net time gain she made over the German athlete within transitions. Those seconds matter.
Anne Haug (GER) had her highest finish for more than two years (fourth), while Kirsten Kasper (USA), Yurie Kato (JPN) and Kaidi Kivioja (EST) all had their best career WTS finishes with fifth, eighth and tenth respectively.
The next race in the series is Yokohama, and Ai Ueda (JPN) achieved a notable milestone in Cape Town. As well as her best result for two years (eighth), it was also her 47th career WTS event, a record she now shares with Andrea Hewitt.
Spain has a new World Triathlon Series race winner, thanks to Fernando Alarza. The achievement of winning just one WTS race should not be underestimated. To date, in the 60 events held since the Series started in its current format in 2009, only 14 male athletes have ever stood on the top step of the podium. Spain now joins Great Britain as the only nation to have provided three different athletes to achieve that. That result isn’t a huge surprise, when you consider Fernando’s recent history, improving every race. His last six WTS races have seen him finish 29th, tenth, sixth, fourth, second and finally first. Perhaps more importantly for Fernando, that result further strengthens his claim for the third slot on the Spanish Olympic team alongside his superstar teammates, Javier Gomez and Mario Mola.
With Olympic Champion brother Alistair a late withdrawal, a second place for Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) will allow him at least some bragging rights between the ever-competitive siblings. Added to his bronze in Gold Coast, Jonathan now increases his WTS career podiums total to 24, one more than Alistair. Only five-time World Champion Javier Gomez, with 36, has achieved more. He also now moves into third place in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings.
Dorian Coninx (FRA) was one of the up-and-coming names we highlighted ahead of the season to keep a look out for, and the former World Champion at Junior and Under-23 level delivered with a debut podium in Cape Town, holding off a fast finishing Mario Mola for the Bronze medal. When a Brownlee brother is very complimentary about your bike strength, you are clearly a talented athlete. Having finished a distant 44th in Abu Dhabi, Coninx is well and truly back to form.
It was a good day generally for the French athletes. Much like Dorian, Aurelien Raphael bounced back from 37th in Abu Dhabi to take seventh in Cape Town, while Pierre Le Corre was two places higher in fifth. That result makes Raphael the highest mover in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, jumping 31 places to hold 22nd.
South Africa’s hopes of home soil success were dealt a cruel blow when a broken collarbone at Gold Coast meant that Richard Murray would not be starting in Cape Town. In his absence, Henri Schoeman took a strong sixth position, which continues his upward curve of performance, from Abu Dhabi (42nd) and Gold Coast (12th). That improvement has moved him inside the top ten of the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings ahead of the next event in Yokohama, Japan.
Columbia Threadneedle Rankings movements following ITU World Triathlon, Cape Town:
Biggest rankings mover: Anne Haug (GER) – from 60th to 16th (678 points)
Highest new entry to rankings: Non Stanford (GBR) – 8th (800 points)
Biggest rankings mover: Aurelian Raphael (FRA) – from 53th to 22nd (549 points)
Highest new entry to rankings: Dorian Coninx (FRA) – 15th (685 points)
This report is brought to you in partnership with Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Global Financial Services partner of the ITU World Triathlon Series and Title Sponsor of the official rankings.
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|Results: Elite Men|
|5.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||00:54:38|