Brazil’s Jessica Ferreira was one of six debut winners at Sunday’s (14 October) Para triathlon World Cup, as home favourite Kendall Gretsch’s unbeaten run came to an end in Sarasota-Bradenton, USA.
Poor water quality meant the penultimate event of the season was changed to the duathlon format of run-bike-run rather than the traditional swim-bike-run.
The change did not go in Gretsch’s favour, as the PyeongChang 2018 Para Nordic sking champion’s winning streak came to an end in the women’s PTWC.
But it turned out for the best for Ferreira, who secured her first international win. Gretsch produced the quickest run time of any athlete on the final leg, but Ferreira’s blistering bike speed proved to be decisive.
Ferreira crossed the finish line in a time of 1:01:44, 16 seconds ahead of Gretsch, while Mexico’s Brenda Osnaya Alvarez finished third, picking up her third podium finish of the season.
In the men’s equivalent, Commonwealth silver medallist Nic Beveridge (53:47) rounded off his season with his first international win. The Australian finished over two minutes ahead of Brazil’s Fernando Aranha and Czech Republic’s Jan Tomanek, respectively.
USA shine in Sarasota sun
The USA’s Adam Popp (1:15:05) showed his strength on the final run to secure his first international win in the men’s PTS2s.
Popp pulled back more than a three-minute deficit heading onto the final run to finish over a minute ahead of Colombia’s Alberto Almeida Arciniegas. Cahim Perez ensured two USA representatives on the podium with a third place.
Kelly Elmlinger (PTS4) and Elizabeth Baker (PTVI) both won their respective classifications to give the hosts three gold medals.
Elmlinger ended her breakthrough year in Para triathlon with her first international win. The 39-year-old – who was competing in only her second international triathlon – crossed the line in 1:14:45, finishing 10 minutes ahead of compatriot Kelly Worrell.
Baker was pushed all the way to the finish by fellow US athlete Amy Dixon, with Baker (1:07:12) stopping the clock 28 seconds ahead of her compatriot. Bronze went to Eliza Cooper who completed the all-USA podium.
Age just a number
At 53-years-old, Japan’s Yuichi Takahashi (57:59) was the oldest competitor in Sarasota, but he showed age was just a number as he claimed his first international win in the men’s PTVI.
He passed the USA’s Kyle Coon in the final few kilometres to win by 48 seconds. Takahashi’s compatriot Satoru Yoneoka took bronze.
Mexico’s Juan Carlos Cano Espinoza (53:24) led from start to finish in the men’s PTS5 to claim his first international victory. France’s Antonie Besse finished second, followed by Japan’s Keiichi Sato.
There was also a first international win for Ireland’s Andrew Nicholson (1:00:10) in the men’s PTS4.
China’s Jiachao Wang was leading after the opening run, but a quick bike leg by Nicholson put the Irish athlete in front and the eventual win. France’s Brice Marmonnier finished third.
Full results from the Sarasota-Bradenton World Cup are available on the International Triathlon Union’s website.