Vendula Frintova (CZE), the reigning ITU Duathlon World Champion, edged out Japan’s Tomoko Sakimoto and Great Britain’s Liz Blatchford for the win today in Mooloolaba.
By the end of the swim, American Laura Bennett (who ended up in 17th) led the first group out of the water.
Some jostling occurred during the bike ride, but the pace of the leaders, including Bennett and Blatchford, slowed as the women made their way onto the final lap of the bike. Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland, led a chase group that took advantage, and chewed into the lead of the front pack.
Bennett then led the way onto the four-lap run course with many just behind her, including Montreal’s Kathy Tremblay. Thirty seconds later, Frintova led a second group into transition, followed by Sweetland and a group of ten women.
Five kilometres into the run, six women set the pace at the front, South Africa’s Kate Roberts, New Zealand’s Debbie Tanner, The Netherland’s Lisa Mensink, Sakimoto, and Britain’s Jodie Stimpson and Blatchford. Frintova was just 25 seconds back at this point and gaining ground.
On the final lap, with Sakimoto and Blatchford doing battle at the front, Frintova made her way up to join them. After running together briefly, Frintova made a critical surge that allowed her to pull away for good and earn her victory.
“It was a little frustrating riding so slow on the bike,” said Frintova to the ITU media. “But I was comfortable waiting until the run to go.” She had the fastest run of the day (35:54).
Kathy Tremblay finished in 19th, and Kirsten Sweetland, the defending champion, did not finish. She offered these thoughts on twitter. “Tough day at the office, everything that could go wrong did…gonna save my legs for Sydney !” The Sydney ITU World Championship Series race take place on April 11th.
Top Ten Women
1. Vendula Frintova (CZE) 2:03:15
2. Tomoko Sakimoto (JPN) 2:03:27
3. Liz Blatchford (GBR) 2:03:43
4. Kate Roberts (RSA) 2:04:04
5. Sarah Groff (USA) 2:04:19
6. Jodie Stimson (GBR) 2:04:20
7. Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) 2:04:22
8. Ainhoa Murua (ESP) 2:04:26
9. Lisa Mensink (NED) 2:04:35
10. Debbie Tanner (NZL) 2:04:36
19. Kathy Tremblay (CAN) 2:08:07
DNF Kirsten Sweetland