Katie Zaferes (USA) has continued the American domination at the New Plymouth World Cup on Sunday, winning the event for a second time, her first in 2014, and the fourth consecutive by the US women.
Canadian Joanna Brown stormed home to take her first World Cup podium, and the silver medal from Belgium’s Claire Michel who put herself in the mix the whole day over the Sprint distance format.
Zaferes was in the lead group out of the swim, remained alert and out of trouble in the tricky conditions on the bike with her compatriots Taylor Spivey, Kristen Kasper, Sarah True, Chelsea Burns and Summer Cook.
“Everyone was pushing from the very beginning, it was a constant really strong ride all the way through for me. It was great practice, I don’t tend to do well on tactics or technically on the course.”
“It was one of my goals to stay in the right place, I was really happy with how I executed it.”
Zaferes was in the lead group out of the non-wetsuit swim, which was key for the 2016 Olympian, however it was fellow American Cook that lead out from Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL), Alice Betto, Kasper and Yuko Takahashi (JPN).
“I love wetsuit swims but also enjoy the cold, I find that to be a strength, so it gave me some confidence knowing it would be a bit chilly and it’s not the perfect condition, I kind of do better in that,” said Zaferes.
The drizzling rain ensured bike-handling skills were crucial on this technical course but the women didn’t hold back.
In the early stages of the 20-kilometre bike there was just 10 seconds that separated the top 20 women, Spivey and Claire Michel (BEL) were doing a far bit of the work up front with True.
Initially local favourite Andrew Hewitt (NZL) was just 12 seconds off the pace but fell way back to the eventual chase group 2+mins behind. It was clear they were not going to bridge the gap today and the medals would come from the front group.
On the bell lap there was still no holding back for the leaders and coming into T2 it was a group of 20 contenders but Takahashi was first onto the run course.
On the first of three laps the group was whittled away to just 8 with Michel surging to the front and Kasper, Cook, Brown, Takahashi, Rachel Klamer (NED) and Zaferes in contact. Brown had given herself a goal today and that was to be on the podium.
“The whole last part of the run I was just telling myself I had to get on the podium so I could get on the podium to do the interview.”
In the final stages Zafares made an error taking a slight wrong turn and the American had to work hard to reconnect with the group.
But she knows how to win on this course and not afraid of the what’s happening around her. She certainly kept her focus in those final stages to secure her second win at New Plymouth.
“I like to compete scared, I don’t know what it going on behind me I like to pretend everybody is there, keeps me constantly going forward.”
“My last world cup race was here and there’s were I won, so it was pretty cool to come back.”
Brown was delighted with her first World Cup podium and return to form after a long few years in the wilderness.
See full review (http://www.triathlon.org/news/article/repeat_wins_for_katie_zafares_and_richard_murray_at_new_plymouth_world_cup?mc_cid=cf73dc8ec4&mc_eid=[UNIQID])
photos Janos Schmidt