Riveros Diaz claims ITU Elite Sprint Triathlon World Championships in thrilling finish
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Barbara Riveros Diaz has claimed her maiden elite ITU world title and second career series win with a thrilling come-from-behind sprint finish at the ITU Elite Sprint Triathlon World Championships and Dextro Energy Triathlon Series round in Lausanne.
Riveros Diaz had dropped to fourth coming into the final kilometre, as Australian Emma Jackson looked like she had the race wrapped up ahead of Andrea Hewitt and Helen Jenkins. But Riveros Diaz cranked up the pace with about 500 metres to go, passed Jenkins and Hewitt and then took aim at Jackson. Last year’s Under23 world champion tried to stick with the pint-sized Chilean star, but couldn’t keep up as she crossed the line in a time 58 minutes, 35 seconds.
Jackson meanwhile celebrated her birthday with silver, while Hewitt overtook Jenkins in the final few hundred metres to claim bronze. Jenkins’ fourth placed finish was enough for her to claim the lead in the overall Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series rankings, meaning that she will wear the No.1 heading into next month’s Beijing Grand Final.
Jenkins effort to finish fourth was even more impressive in Lausanne though given she had led the race from almost start to finish. Another British athlete, Lucy Hall, was first out of the swim and Jenkins was only a few seconds behind, and they had an almost 30 second lead on the main pack heading out of transition. Even after Hall dropped off, Jenkins still raced about half the 20km bike solo, before finally being caught by a pack that included Riveros Diaz, Hewitt and Jackson, as well as Nicola Spirig, Emma Moffatt, Gwen Jorgensen, Emmie Charayron, Lisa Norden and Sarah Groff.
From the start of the run, Jenkins then kept pushing the pace and together with Hewitt, Jackson, Riveros Diaz and Ashleigh Gentle broke to form a leader’s pack of five. That group then lead unchanged for most of the run, before the final one kilometre when Gentle dropped off and it came down to the tussle between Riveros Diaz and Jackson. With a furious surge late in the run, Riveros Diaz became the first Chilean triathlete to ever win an ITU World Championship.
It was her second Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series race title, after she won the season opener in Sydney on 2010, also in a sprint finish.
Australia ended up with three women inside the top 10, with Gentle in fifth and Felicity Abram in 10th, while the USA had two, with Gwen Jorgensen sixth and Sarah Groff seventh. It was Jorgensen’s third elite race in three weeks, after she won silver in London and then gold at the Tiszaujvaros World Cup last weekend.
Overall Jenkins leads the overall Dextro Energy Triathlon Series rankings by 201 points, on 2913, with Riveros Diaz second on 2712. Paula Findlay, who did not race in Lausanne, is in third on 2637 points. The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final Beijing is on September 10 and 11.
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Jonathan Brownlee has defended his ITU Elite Sprint Triathlon World Championship, and won his first Dextro Energy Triathlon Series race in the process, in a fast and furious men's sprint round in Lausanne.12:14 - 20 Aug, 2011