“It’s one of the races I’ve never won before, it’s always eluded me and that’s always an incentive,” commented the petite Snowsill. “The home crowd is always fantastic, to not be able to hear yourself breathing and hurting and to hear everybody else is a fantastic feeling, and I think that really makes all the difference”
After the opening 1,500 metre ocean swim, a group of 22 athletes formed early on the bike, including all the top players such as local favourites Annabel Luxford, Felicity Abram and Emma Moffatt, American Laura Bennett, the second and third ranked Joelle Franzmann and Anja Dittmer of Germany, Junior world champion Kirsten Sweetland of Canada, the Kiwi duo of Debbie Tanner and Andrea Hewitt, as well as the eventual podium finishers. The large group was able to work together over the hilly 40 kilometre bike to build almost a minute gap on the rest of the field which included a number of strong runners such as Samantha Warriner of New Zealand, Lauren Groves of Canada and Rina Hill of Australia.
Out onto the tough and hot run course it was Snowsill, Fernandes and Tanner immediately taking the lead with Densham trailing. The first to drop off the heated pace was Tanner and at the 5 kilometre point of the run Snowsill was able to break away and cruise to her sixth world cup win.
“I knew Vanessa was there for a while,” said Snowsill. “I never at any stage knew she wasn’t there. It was all about going as hard as possible.”
The fading Fernandes was eventually overtaken in the final kilometre by a late-charging Densham.
“She’s [Fernandes] definitely up there on a pedestal with Emma … and I don’t know how to explain beating her actually, she’s such a great athlete,” said a shocked Densham. “I just went as fast as I could in the finish. I kept looking down. I could see her shadows but then the finish line just came.”
Fernandes was stopped short of her, would be, record-breaking 13th consecutive world cup win with her bronze medal.
“I never thought of it. I just wanted to win,” stated Fernandes. “I tried to go with Emma but she was very strong today on the run, and I think I’m not so good on this kind of course, with the sun on the run. I think it was because of that I lost a bit of time to Densham. I think we have another very good girl with Erin Densham. I think it’s very good for the sport.”
An estimated 25,000 spectators enjoyed the 32 degree temperatures to watch a total of 153 of the world’s top triathletes competing for valuable Olympic qualifying points and their share of the US$100,000 prize purse.
A Gutsy performance from both sides