Cecilia Ramirez Alavez blew away the field down the second half of the 5km run to take a hard-fought ITU Junior World title on Saturday afternoon on the Gold Coast. Alavez was almost 40 seconds off the pace coming out of the water but worked well with the chase group to make inroads on the lead pack across the 20km ride. Still 31 seconds back through T2, the Mexican powered her way through the competition, catching and passing GB’s Erin Wallace and Kate Waugh who had to settle for second and third respectively.
“I am so happy I have been able to achieve this on my coach and my brother’s birthday and I am really glad that I was able to win for them,” said a thrilled Alavez. “It is a triple celebration!”
It was the young Hungarian Dorka Putnoczki who got to grips with the swim and came into the first transition out in front, closely followed by Gabriela Ribeiro (POR) and Kira Gupta-Baltazar (CAN). At that stage Wallace was 20 seconds back, but a lead group of eight quickly settled into a rhythm on the first lap of the bike with Waugh looking strong.
The majority of the 54-strong field was within a minute of the lead, however, and Alavez found herself able to save her legs in the mix of a huge chase group.
It was still hard to bet against Waugh or France’s Jessica Fullagar as the bike section reached its climax and they flew out of transition shoulder-to-shoulder, but further back the powerful Mexican had dropped the hammer from the very first paces and was cutting in to their advantage.
Some 25 seconds faster than Waugh over the first lap of two, she took a further 30 seconds off the Brit across the second 2.5km, also overtaking Wallace who had moved her way into second as last year’s silver medalist tired. Crossing the line first having been in 36th off the bike, Ramirez clocked a time of 17 minutes 13 seconds on the run to ensure a brilliant world title.
“I am completely amazed at this result and really pleased that I could win. On the run I thought that it was possible because I had so much support from my coach and friends telling me that I could do it, said Alavez “I have been working very hard on my run over the years and it has become my best leg this year. I have been focusing on this race for the whole year, preparing to perform at my best on this day in the Gold Coast.”
“I definitely can’t be disappointed because my result is so much more than I expected this year,” said a smiling Erin Wallace. “I couldn’t be happier with how it went. I knew I was in good form coming into this race but it was nerve racking to be on the start line so I kept my trust in what I know I have done to prepare and it paid off. I really wanted Kate (Waugh) to also do well. I wanted both of us on that podium.”
Kate Waugh summed up her race graciously, saying; “I obviously came out to win today and go one better than my second place last year but I didn’t have it at the end, the girls were just too strong today. It was amazing to come here and I’m so grateful to be selected. It is always an honour to wear a GB suit. One of my closest teammates, Erin Wallace, has come second so I couldn’t be happier for her. I didn’t see Alavez coming she was a long way back but she was so, so powerful when she came past me that I couldn’t stay with her. Well done to her.”
For the full results, click here.