Rainy conditions earlier in the day cleared just before the start of the womens Hamburg ITU Triathlon World Cup, much to the relief of everyone. The 18oC water temperature meant that it was a wetsuit swim, and despite the cool conditions police estimated that over 150,000 spectators filled the triathlon stadium and lined the course.
World #1 Annabel Luxford from Australia took an early lead on the 2 lap, 1500km swim course, but it was Germanys Joelle Franzmann who nabbed the ITU Swim Prime at the end of the 1st lap. Close behind Luxford and Franzmann were Maxine Seear of Australia, USA team-mates Joanna Zeiger, Sheila Taormina and Kerry Lang of Scotland. Luxford and Franzmann continued to lead through the second lap of the swim and led the field out of the water through the swim to bike transition and onto the 8 lap, very technical bike course. Taormina, di Marco Messmer, Silvia Gemignani of Italy, Maxine Seear of Australia, and Samantha Warriner were very close behind, with Kristine Jeffery of Canada and Birgit Berk of the Netherlands just a few more seconds back.
Luxford and Franzmann joined forces with Taormina, Warriner and di Marco Messmer and made a break on the first of eight laps on the 40km bike course. By the end of lap 1, the leaders had built up a 30 second lead on the chase group of over 20 that included Zeiger, Gemignani, Machiko Nakanishi of Japan, Ainhoa Murua of Spain, Tania Haiboeck of Austria and Jana Jirouskova of the Czech Republic.
The first ITU Bike Prime was at the end of the second lap, and despite the slippery wet carpet from heavy rains the night before, the leaders threw a little caution to the wind and put on a dramatic sprint in front of thousands of fans in the triathlon stadium. Magali di Marco Messmer, the Athens Olympic Bronze Medalist was the one to squeeze out the prize and help the leaders extend their gap to 45 seconds on the chase group behind.
Wet, slippery cobblestone street and some very technical corners started to take its toll on the group of 20 women in the chase pack as they started to fragment and stretch out into a long line. By the end of the 3rd lap they were 1:05 back with Ricarda Lisk working very hard at the front trying to help her team-mates Christiane Pilz and Anja Dittmer to within striking distance of the leaders.
But it was to no avail and they slowly slipped further and further back, until they were 1:25 behind near the end of the 7th lap.
The 2nd Prime Line was at the end of the 7th lap, again in front of the stadium. This time it was Sheila Taormina who sprinted off the front, took the prize and then danced through the technical S curve at the end of the stadium. Behind her Magali di Marco Messmer took the corner a little too tight on the inside and crashed taking first Luxford out and then Franzmann. Warriner was able to tiptoe through the mess and get free back onto the course with Taormina.
Di Marco and Luxford recovered remarkable well, but lost a good 40 seconds in the mean timeFranzmann even more.
Taormina and Warriner came off the bike with a comfortable 1:39 lead, and from then on the school teacher from New Zealand took charge.
Di Marco Messmer was 25 seconds back at the start of the run, with Luxford, who got the worse of the deal on the bike crash, another 25 seconds back.
The chase group, which was filled with great runners, such as Spains Ainhoa Murua and Ana Burgos, Germanys Pilz and Dittmer, Catriona Morrison of Britain and Nadia Cortassa of Italy raced through transition and were off in the hunt for the leaders.
Warriner posted a 35:15 - 10km run, which was enough to hold off the good runners charging up from behind. Ana Burgos of Spain had the fastest run time of the day at 33:48, and ran from the chase, caught Luxford on the final lap, and claimed step 2 of the podium. Luxford, who rarely misses the podium, made a miraculous recovery from the spectacular crash on the bike and finished 3rd to retain her hold on the top of the World Cup Rankings.
Relative newcomer Vendula Frintova of the Czech Republic was 4th with Catriona Morrison of Scotland rounding out the top 5.
The win by Warriner caused some change in the ITU World Cup Rankings as she bumped Emma Snowsill back into 3rd and move to within 40 points of World Cup leader Annabel Luxford.
Live action from Hamburg continues tomorrow as the mens World Cup gets underway at 1:00 p.m. local time. Be sure to tune in for more action.
|Results: Elite Men|