Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal has just won the 2006 Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup in a time of 2:01:34 on a preview of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games course. Fernandes bested current world champion Emma Snowsill of Australia by 44 seconds, solidifying her place in history, tying the current record of 12 world cup victories in a row set by Australian Emma Carney in the early 1990s. A further 47 seconds back was third place finisher Elizabeth May of Luxemburg. This is Mays first podium finish.
I dont think about the record, said the modest Fernandes, who just celebrated her 21st birthday ten days ago. I did not feel very good today but win over Emma [Snowsill] on the Olympic course. I am happy for myself, my family and Portugal.
With the win Fernandes has guaranteed herself the 2006 overall world cup title and her share of $US250,000 bonus prize pool.
I was not feeling good yesterday and I called my father and he tell me You are good, you are a champion and you will feel better once you are racing and I listen to him, commented Fernandes, who regularly receives advice from her father, who is a past Portuguese cycling champion.
Snowsill, who admitted she has not been training since the world championships in Lausanne looked to be hurting in the hot and hazy conditions.
It is tougher then it looks, stated the tiny Australian. If this is the course they will use for the Olympics it will be a good test of a true triathlete.
A full womens field of 75 took to the water just on the outskirts of Beijing for a preview of the 2008 Games course and valuable Olympic Qualifying points.
At the end of the first of two swim laps the athletes were already strung out in the non-wetsuit swim. Australian Annabel Luxford, who is back after injury, led a strong group out of the Changping reservoir including Snowsill, Fernandes, Laura Bennett (USA), Sarah Haskins (USA), Samantha Warriner (NZL), Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Joelle Franzmann (GER) and Vanessa Raw (GBR).
This lead group was caught early in the 40 kilometre bike course by an efficient chase group to form one large pack of 22 athletes. These women worked well together, increasing their lead on the sizable chase group to an insurmountable 3 minutes heading into transition two. World championships one-two Snowsill and Fernandes rode beside each other the entire challenging, 6-lap bike leg.
The chase pack contained top-ranked Anja Dittmer from Germany and Debbie Tanner from New Zealand, who both suffered a poor swim and were unable to bring themselves back into contention.
In her typical style Fernandes shot out of transition two, moving to the front on the hilly 4-lap run course. By the end of the first lap she had put 20 seconds into second-place Snowsill and 40 seconds into the rest of the field. Each lap Fernandes lead grew by another 10 seconds, giving her plenty of time to wave and clap to the thousands of colourful spectators in the finish chute.
That is what I always do. I never look back, said Fernandes on her patented racing style. I was waiting today for Snowsill to catch me. Today she did not and I win but next time maybe she will.
May and Bennett had their own battle going for the final podium spot as they traded positions for the last 2 kilometres of the race. It was Mays middle-distance track history that enabled her to out-kick Bennett to the line.
2006 Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup Elite Women results (unofficial)
1.FERNANDES, Vanessa (POR)2:03:53
2.SNOWSILL, Emma (AUS)2:04:38
3.MAY, Elizabeth (LUX)2:05:24
4.BENNETT, Laura (USA)2:05:36
5.FRANZMANN, Joelle (GER)2:05:43
6.WARRINER, Samantha (NZL)2:06:01
7.HEWITT, Andrea (NZL)2:06:08
8.WHITCOMBE, Andrea (GBR)2:06:08
9.TREMBLAY, Kathy (CAN)2:06:12
10.RAW, Vanessa (GBR)2:06:24
Post race video highlights will be available shortly.
|Results: Elite Men|
|2.||Javier Gomez Noya||ESP||01:52:55|