Heavy rain in Eastern Europe resulted in a very strong current and unusually cold water in the Tiszau River that serves as the venue for the 1.5km swim leg of this popular event. The 18oC water resulted in wetsuits being the order of the day, as a strong field of women lined up for the start of the 9th running of the event here in Hungary.
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The current ITU Triathlon World Champion, Sheila Taormina of the USA led through the entire first lap and also won the prime by being the first to enter the water for the second lap. The current World Cup leader, Annabel Luxford of Australia stayed in touch with Taormina through the entire swim, as did Annaliese Heard, the 2 time Junior World Champion from Great Britain.
By the swim to bike transition the only other one to hock onto the trio at the front was Germany’s Christiane Pilz. Emma Snowsill of Australia, one of the pre-race favourites struggled to remove her wetsuit in the transition area and lost valuable moments that cost her a chance stay up with the leaders. Snowsill was further hampered by a crack in the rim of her front wheel which was rubbing on the frame of her bike.
Snowsill organized a second group of four including Lenka Radova from the Czech Republic, Mari Rabie from South Africa and Akine Furatani of Japan. A larger group of 11 formed behind the chase pack led by Renata Berkova of the Czech Republic and Eva Dollinger of Austria.
Snowsill’s group lacked the horse-power of the leaders and they began to fall back to the chase pack. By the end of the 2nd of 6 laps on the 40km bike, the 2 groups merged to form one big pack.
Annaliese Heard out-sprinted the other three in the lead group to take the first bike prime, a display of sheer strength that delighted the thousands of frantic Hungarians that lined the course. The sprint for the prime line spurred the leaders on to pick up the pace and they increased the gap to the chasers on each lap by up to 30 seconds.
Sheila Taormina out-sprinted the lead group for the second prime at the start of the bell lap, which again seemed to energise the group at the front.
By the bike to run transition the leaders had a 2:30 lead as the run came down to sorting out positions for the podium.
Annabel Luxford has been on the podium each time she has raced this season, but until today she had not stand on that illusive top step. With her nemesis, Snowsill down by over 2 minutes at the front, Luxford had no problem taking charge of the matters on the 4 lap 10km run.
Although Taormina was first to exit the second transition area, Luxford soon moved to the front and never looked back. She increased her lead on each lap and ran home to the thunderous applause of the crowd. Christiane Pilz was second after exchanging position several times with Sheila Taormina who captured the last step on the podium.
Meanwhile, Emma Snowsill was eating up the time difference to the chase pack and managed to catch Annaliese Heard to place 4th with the fastest run time of day at 33:454. Heard rounded out the top 5.
|Results: Elite Men|