Derron wears #1 as Olympic qualification chase continues at World Triathlon Cup Chengdu

by doug.gray@triathlon.org on 25 Apr, 2024 08:20 • Español
Derron wears #1 as Olympic qualification chase continues at World Triathlon Cup Chengdu

The fifth World Cup of this Olympic year sees the circuit head to Chengdu, China, on Monday, where the battles for the medals as well as the points and performances that could help seal Paris 2024 qualification are on the line.

Starting out in Napier in February before moving on to Hong Kong, Lievin and then Wollongong last weekend, the World Cup tour has just three stops left within the qualification period: Chengdu, Huatulco and Samarkand. The heat is on.

And it is to China that the athletes are heading for an unusual Monday race, and a Chengdu circuit that first appeared on the schedule a decade ago in 2014. A two-lap, 1.5km swim transitions into a six-lap 40km bike, each lap with two dead turns, and then 4 x 2.5km laps to the tape. Watch all the action over on TriathlonLive.tv.


Derron ready to push on in 2024

It has been a strong sequence of results from Switzerland’s Julie Derron that sees her assume the race number one, reaching back to her last race in China in 2019 and a career-first gold in Weihai. Back-to-back silvers in Arzachena, a Karlovy Vary gold, the 2022 European title and bronze in the Mixed Relay World Championships last year all underline what this powerful 27-year-old is capable of.

The exertions of her familiar hauling of the chasing bike pack up to the leaders has taken a toll in the past, but a 7th-fastest 10km run split to finish 8th at last year’s Championship Finals Pontevdera again suggested big things lie ahead. The gap to the front pack out of the water could be the difference between top 10 and top of the podium on Monday morning for the Swiss number one.


Lin looking for breakthrough finish

Fourth here last year remains Xinyu Lin’s - and indeed her country’s - best result of all time at this level, so China’s Asian Games silver medallist would love to register a first World Cup podium on home soil to kickstart her Olympic ambitions. If she can find her stride after an hour in the saddle, Lin could be ready to secure that historic first World Cup medal for China.

With a place in Paris looking ever more assured, New Zealand’s Nicole Van Der Kaay will be seeking more Olympic-distance form after her solid 13th place in Quarteira last month. The Kiwi has been building back from a major accident suffered racing Super League last year, but the memory of her first World Cup win 14 months ago in New Plymouth will be powering her on once more on Monday.


Italians racing for Paris

Ilaria Zane and Alice Betto sit at 34th and 48th in the Olympic Rankings heading into race week, knowing that either sitting inside the top 30 at the end of May would likely see Italy secure the maximum three quota places in Paris. Zane was third here last October, while Betto won Brasilia gold the same weekend. This will be a fascinating encounter between two compatriots who, remarkably, haven’t crossed the line at the same individual race since 2018. That race? The Cagliari World Cup. The results? Betto finished 7th, Zane 8th.

The strongest South American challenge for medals will again come from Ecuador’s Elizabeth Bravo, while Mexico’s rising star Sofia Rodriguez Moreno, the Continental bronze medallist in Miami last month behind the Ecuadorian, will also be looking to feature. Bravo has put together some strong finishes of late and knows well what it takes to podium at this level.

Elsewhere, Sweden’s 2022 Junior World Champion Tilda Mansson strode to her third World Cup victory last weekend. Her best performances to date may have come at the sprint distance, but this will be another good test of her mettle over the Olympic, as the 19-year-old continues to make moves towards an exciting Games debut at Paris 2024.

Chengdu will also be Team World Triathlon’s first official race of 2024. The squad for athletes from smaller nations is provided precious coaching and travel support at specific events in their quest to qualify for Paris, and will include the in-form Erica Hawley of Bermuda, Colombia’s Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto and Zuzana Michalickova. The Slovakian currently stands just ten places ahead of compatriot Romana Gajdosova in what could be the race for the New Flag position in Paris.

Elsewhere on the start list, Lotte Miller (NOR) returns to the blue carpet for the first time since October hoping her back injury is behind her, Mansson’s 2021 Junior World Championship rival Jule Behrens (GER) starts only her third World Cup, and Aquathlon World Champion Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer (HUN) chases her first World Cup podium since Haeundae 2021.

For the full start list, click here.

Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Cup Chengdu
29 Apr, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Max Stapley GBR 01:43:25
2. Jonas Schomburg GER 01:43:32
3. Tayler Reid NZL 01:43:39
4. Márk Dévay HUN 01:43:43
5. Valentin Morlec FRA 01:44:02
Results: Elite Women
1. Julie Derron SUI 01:55:18
2. Tilda Månsson SWE 01:56:09
3. Roksana Slupek POL 01:56:14
4. Ilaria Zane ITA 01:57:25
5. Alice Betto ITA 01:57:35
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