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Sapunova and Colucci and win in Hungary

Phillips is the top Canadian male.

After over 50 races on the ITU circuit, the Ukraine’s Yuliya Sapunova scored her first World Cup win in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary today, topping Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow in a last-second dash to the line.

“I was not very confident in my sprint,” Sapunova said. “I usually try to break away early in the run, because I have never been very good at sprinting, but today I felt different. I’ve never felt that strong at the end.”

Sixty-eight women started the swim, and to no one’s surprise, American Sara McLarty surged to the front from the gun. The only woman able to keep pace with McLarty was local favourite Margit Vanek of Hungary, as the rest of the group struggled to keep pace. McLarty finished the first lap with a small lead on Vanek, which earned the American a $500 (USD) prime. The pair continued to lead through the second swim lap, exiting the water with a lead of 40 seconds on the group.

McLarty showed why experience matters in transition, as she flew through T1 to take a solo lead onto the bike. The ride started off with an 8.3K leg to the centre of Tizaujvaros, before taking the athletes through seven 4.9K laps around town, for a total of 42.6K. By the time she arrived in town, McLarty had a lead of just over one minute on the chase group, and she continued to pull away as the women started the flat and technical laps around town. By the end of the bike, McLarty had a 90-second advantage on the chase group of 41 women, which included all of the race’s top contenders. By remaining in front for the entire ride, McLarty also earned both of the day’s $500 bike primes, netting her a total of $1,500 (USD) in primes.

“Myself and a couple of the other girls were trying to push the group to catch Sara on the bike, but most of the girls didn’t want to work,” Swallow said. “But I guess they were right because we caught Sara very early in the run.”

McLarty relinquished the lead at the start of the second of four run laps, as a new lead group of six women moved to the front. Swallow ran at the front, with Sapunova, Carla Moreno (BRA), Helle Frederiksen (DEN), Emma Jackson (AUS) and Zsofia Kovacs (HUN) right on her heels.

The group of six stayed together until the final lap of the run, when Sapunova and Swallow pulled away to set up a thrilling sprint finish. Swallow was the first to make a move with about 300 metres left to run, but Sapunova responded with a huge burst of speed to pull away with less than 100 metres to go. Sapunova broke the tape for her first World Cup win in 2:01:00, with Swallow crossing the line two seconds behind.

“I knew were both very tired at the end,” Swallow said. “Looking back, I know I gave everything I could in the sprint. That was the best I had today and I’m very happy with a podium finish.”

Moreno rounded out the podium, finishing another nine seconds behind Swallow. It is the first World Cup podium for Moreno since winning the Mazatlan World Cup in 2004.

“I haven’t done much ITU racing for the past two years, so I didn’t think that I would have the speed to stay with the front pack today,” Moreno said. “I really surprised myself with how I felt and I couldn’t be happier with a podium finish today.”

Top 10 Elite Women

1. Yuliya Sapunova (UKR) 2:01:00

2. Jodie Swallow (GBR) 2:01:02  +2

3. Carla Moreno (BRA) 2:01:11  +11

4. Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL) 2:01:19  +19

5. Emma Jackson (AUS) 2:01:28  +28

6. Maria Czesnik (POL) 2:01:34  +34

7. Helle Fredericksen (DEN) 2:01:36  +36

8. Zsofia Kovacs (HUN) 2:01:41  +41

9. Alexandra Razarenova (RUS) 2:01:51 +51

10. Irina Abysova (RUS) 2:02:07  +1:07

Colucci Runs Away with Tiszaujvaros Win

Brazil’s Reinaldo Colucci has finished in the top seven of an ITU World Cup event on six previous occasions, but it wasn’t until today that he scored his first World Cup win. Colucci started the run over a minute behind the lead pack, but used a blazing 30:23 10K run to pull out the win. It is the first World Cup win for a Brazilian in 12 years, and capped off a big day for Brazil, as countrywoman Carla Moreno finished third in the women’s race.

“I am so happy. I’ve been so close to a World Cup podium in the past few years, but I never had enough speed at the end of the race to finish it off,” Colucci said. “I felt great at the end today. It’s a great day for Brazil.”

Seventy-eight men took to the water to start the two-lap, 1.5K swim, with Australian Joshua Amberger taking up the lead at the start. The Aussie led through the first lap, earning him the $500 (USD) swim prime. Right on his heels were Russia’s Vladimir Turbaevskiy and Ivan Vasiliev, as well as Japan’s Tsukasa Hirano. As the front group of 15 men finished up the swim and headed toward transition, Hirano took the lead and the small group tried to ride away from the rest of the field at the start of the bike.

Five men were able to breakaway from the front group, building a lead of 35 seconds after the 8K ride into the centre of Tiszaujvaros. In the lead bunch were three Russians – Vasiliev, Turbaevskiy and Yulian Malyshev – as well as Amberger and Spain’s Francesco Godoy. The five-man break continued to gain about 10 seconds per lap on the big chase group throughout the first three of seven bike laps, finishing the third lap with a one-minute advantage.

“I was a bit concerned about that group being so far up the road, but I was confident in my run,” Colucci said.

By the time they hit T2, the five leaders had a gap of 1:10 on the peloton, which had swelled to over 50 men. Vasiliev was able to break away from the rest of the front bunch on the first of four run laps, building an 11-second advantage as he started lap two.

One by one, Vasilev and the rest of the leaders faded back, as Colucci led the charge of chasers headed toward the front. Going with the Brazilian were Mexico’s Crisanto Grajales and Czech Martin Krnavek.

“When I saw that it was down to 15 seconds with one lap to go, I knew I had a good chance.”

Colucci took over the lead on the final lap and put on a huge surge with 800 metres left to run, pulling away from the rest of the field. He broke the tape in 1:49:07, with Grajales finishing second two seconds later. It’s the first World Cup podium for the 23-year-old Grajales.

“I didn’t even know that I was in second place until I saw Colucci raise the finishing tape right in front of me,” Grajales said. “I knew I was running well, but I wasn’t focusing on my place, I was just focusing on running as hard as I could.”

Krnavek rounded out the podium, finishing another three seconds back of Grajales. It’s the third time that the Czech has finished on the podium in Tiszaujvaros, after winning in 2001 and finishing third in 2002.

“I’ve always enjoyed racing in Tizaujvaros-I’ve had great races here,” Krnavek said. “I plan on coming back many more times.”

Top 10 Elite Men

1. Reinaldo Colucci (BRA) 1:49:07

2. Crisanto Grajales (MEX) 1:49:09

3. Martin Krnavek (CZE) 1:49:12

4. Yulian Malyshev (RUS) 1:49:22

5. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 1:49:26

6. Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) 1:49:27

7. Jan Celustka (CZE) 1:49:27

8. Andriy Glushchenko (UKR) 1:49:35

9. Rostyslav Pevtsov (UKR) 1:49:36

10. Adam Bowden (GBR) 1:49:38

33. Jeffrey Phillips (CAN)  1:51:04

38. Andrew Yorke (CAN)  1:51:19

54. Andrew McCartney (CAN)   1:52:47