Ueda makes it back-to-back Huatulco World Cup titles
Japan’s Ai Ueda stormed to her second straight victory in Huatulco, her second World Cup title. Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig came from behind to take the silver while Dutch youngster Rachel Klamer surprised all and came across for bronze in her first ever World Cup race.
“I love Huatulco. I think a positive mind was the key to winning today. I’m very happy,” said Ueda after the race.
Former World Champion Helen Jenkins (GBR) led the women out of the first transition and onto the 40-kilometre bike course. Joining her in the lead group was Kerry Lang (GBR), Melanie Annaheim (SUI), Jillian Petersen (USA) and Pamela Oliveira (BRA) who owned a 45-second lead on the chase group of five women. But Spirig, known as a ferocious cyclist, went to work, slowly but surely chipping away at the lead and pulling the pack with her. After the fifth of eight laps, the lead had evaporated and the leaders became a group of ten women, which included Ueda
“It’s always hard to say how much (the bike portion) takes out of you but I’m sure it took a lot of energy,” said Spirig, who finished on the podium for the 5th time this year. “In the beginning of the run I felt really bad but it got better and better.”
The group headed into T2 together and set out onto the 10-kilometre run with Spirig, Ueda, and Jenkins pushing the pace. But Ueda began to pull away in the first lap and built an insurmountable lead. Spirig and Jenkins were in pursuit but just couldn’t keep up with speedy Ueda, who won by a comfortable margin. Spirig finished strong to claim silver but Klamer was the real surprise, passing Jenkins on the final lap for the biggest result of her young career.
Ueda has surprisingly had her best results in Mexico; her two World Cup victories plus a silver in Monterrey earlier this year.
Spirig’s performance was impressive given she endured a stressful few days after the airline lost her luggage and bike. Her bike only arrived yesterday but without her luggage, she had to race in her practice suit and shoes.
“I took it as a challenge and it was a happy ending,” said Spirig.
Klamer was ecstatic with her performance, especially after coming back from a stress fracture earlier in the year.
“I’m really happy, I didn’t expect this,” said Klamer.
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