WINS MADEIRA WORLD CUP
Funchal, Madeira: Despite tropical showers that threatened to dampen spirits,
a large crowd of locals and tourists lined the course of the final “premiere”
Triathlon World Cup of the season.
American teammates Sheila Taormina and Barb Lindquist joined forces from the start and by the halfway point of the 1.5km swim had already started to pull away from the field. Spain’s Pilar Hidalgo, Britain’s Jodie Swallow and Canada’s Jill Savege did not allow them to get out of reach, and were just 8 seconds back at the swim to bike transition.
That mere 8 seconds was enough for Taormina and Lindquist to get away onto the hilly and technically challenging 8-lap, 40km bike course, and working like a well-oiled machine, they lap-by-lap slowly pulled away from the chase pack of 10. By the 20km mark their lead had built to 1:48.
Jessica Harrison of Great Britain tried to organize the hunt for the leaders, but the size and diversity of the chase group was too disorganised, so she decided to try to bridge to the leaders alone, leaving German teammates Anja Dittmer and Ricarda Lisk, along with Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes, the task of keeping the chase group in touch with the leaders.
By the 25km mark, Harrison was back with the chase pack, as Taormina and Lindquist passed the 2 minute gap mark leaving little doubt about the first 2 steps on the podium.
Steady rain increased the challenge of the course, as the many technical turns became drenched. This didn’t dampen the efforts of the duo at the front as they powered up the hill and through the tight corners of the city street. By the start of the final lap they had built up a lead of 2:24 - unsurmountable for even the talented runners in the chase group.
Pilar Hidalgo and Michellie Jones led the chase group through the second transition, now almost 3 minutes behind Lindquist and Taormina.
After the 1st lap of the run, Sheila Taormina was in the lead with Barb Lindquist on her shoulder. Jill Savege and Michellie Jones moved through the chase pack in a vain attempt to caught the leaders, but were still 2:33 back as the rest of the chase pack faded.
By the 5km point on the run, Jill Savege and Michellie Jones had taken 45 seconds out of the 3 minute lead as Barb Lindquist moved ahead of Taormina. The race for the top step and the 3rd step of the podium created lots of drama for the spectators huddled under their umbrellas.
Barb Lindquist led into the final lap with a 3 second lead on Taormina, as Savege and Jones ran shoulder to shoulder 1:55 back.
With less than a kilometre to go, Sheila Taormina made a dramatic move on her teammate and broke off the front making a little World Cup history for herself by beating Lindquist for the first time. She romped home to win by 19 seconds. The sprint for the 3rd spot between Jill Savege and Michellie Jones was so tight that it took a competition jury and a review of the finishline camera to sort it out. In the end Savege was given 3rd place, 1:46 behind the Taormina with Jones 4th. Jodie Swallow was 5th a further minute back.
After the race Sheila Taormina said, “Wow - it’s so great to have the confidence to know I can run with Barb (Lindquist), then actually out-kick her at the end. We were very lucky to build up that lead on the field, because the course was so slippery with all the rain - we were all pretty cautious.”
Most of the field will now move on to Athens for next weekend’s World Cup event
on the Vouliagmeni course which will be the site of next year’s Olympic Games
|Results: Elite Men|
|1.||Ivan Raña Fuentes||ESP||01:46:22|